On 17 November 2022, a Settlement Approval Hearing took place before the Honourable Justice Dixon of the Supreme Court of Victoria for the Box Hill Institute (BHI) Student Pilot Class Action.
On 29 November 2022, his Honour approved the settlement and appointed Andrew Grech, partner of Gordon Legal as the Scheme Administrator.
The Settlement Scheme approved by the Court will now commence. A settlement distribution scheme is now in process.
The key terms of the settlement with BHI are as follows:
BHI will pay an all-inclusive amount of $33 million (Resolution Sum);
- from the Resolution Sum, the following sums will be deducted:
- $4,623,835.14 in legal costs that the Plaintiffs incurred in the commencement and conduct of the Class Action;
- $49,277.25 in respect of the costs of the Court appointed Costs Referee;
- $20,000 for the First Plaintiff’s claim for time spent and expenses incurred in the interests of prosecuting the Class Action on behalf of Group Members as a whole; and
- $15,000 for the Second Plaintiff’s claim for time spent and expenses incurred in the interests of prosecuting the Class Action on behalf of Group Members as a whole; and
- $15,000 for the Third Plaintiff’s claim for time spent and expenses incurred in the interests of prosecuting the Class Action on behalf of Group Members as a whole; and
- $15,000 for the Fourth Plaintiff’s claim for time spent and expenses incurred in the interests of prosecuting the Class Action on behalf of Group Members as a whole; and
- $15,000 will be paid to Soar’s liquidator.
- The Court has also ordered that the costs of the scheme administration will be capped at $3,250,000 and appointed a Costs Referee to oversee that the costs incurred by the Scheme Administrator are reasonable and proportionate. The costs of the scheme administration will be deducted from the Resolution Sum.
- the balance of the Resolution Sum, together with any interest that accrues on the Resolution Sum, will represent the compensation payment to the Plaintiffs and Group Members.
- in return, the Plaintiffs and Group Members will give BHI releases in relation to the subject matter of the Class Action (other than for damages for personal injury, with the exception of the claims for distress, inconvenience and vexation that are made in the Class Action) and agree not to make or pursue any claims with the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations against BHI in respect of any VET FEE-HELP or VET Student Loans they have taken out (and indemnify BHI in respect of any claim they may have already made or might make in the future).
In addition to the settlement with BHI, a settlement has been agreed with Soar and approved by the Court. The settlement with Soar involves the claim against Soar being discontinued, with $15,000 being paid to Soar’s liquidator for part of its legal costs, pursuant to a previous order of the Court. These costs were associated with the Plaintiffs obtaining information from Soar’s liquidators to test what assets Soar might have had to contribute to any settlement.
A copy of the Settlement Approval Orders are available under the “Relevant Documents” heading below.
If you are a Group Member in the Class Action and wished to participate in the Settlement Scheme, you needed to have lodged a Notice of Claim with Gordon Legal between 19 September 2022 and 21 October 2022. Pursuant to the Court’s orders of 16 September 2022. The period to lodge a Notice of Claim has now ended.
Each Notice of Claim lodged with Gordon Legal will now be assessed to determine whether or not the Group Members’ circumstances fit the criteria for them to be considered an ‘Eligible Claimant’ by the Scheme Administrator. Only Eligible Claimants will be able to make a claim for loss and damage under the Settlement Scheme.
If you have lodged a Notice of Claim, you will receive notification informing you whether or not you have satisfied the Eligibility Criteria by 27 December 2022.
Eligible Claimants will be invited to complete a questionnaire on the Claimant Hub. If you are an Eligible Claimant, you must complete the questionnaire with ninety (90) days of receiving it.
You will also need to provide any relevant documentation that may be used to substantiate your claim and attend a personal, telephone or video interview with a representative of the Scheme Administrator. At the interview you will be asked for more information specific to your circumstances and be given the opportunity to ask any questions.
Overview of the BHI Student Pilot Class Action
In March 2020, Gordon Legal commenced class action proceedings against BHI on behalf of the representative plaintiffs and group members, who enrolled to study a Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) (CPL Diploma) between 6 December 2015 and 26 March 2020.
The four named representative plaintiffs are Nerita Somers, Adel Hassanein, Matthew Lamont and Felix Ouldanov.
The compensation sought in the class action includes:
- Reimbursement of tuition fees paid to BHI including in respect of group members’ student loans attributable to the CPL Diploma course;
- Reimbursement for lost time incurred through attending and participating in the CPL Diploma course;
- Refunds of additional costs incurred during the CPL Diploma Course, including flight costs paid to Soar, and additional studying costs incurred as part of preparing for CASA exams; Damages for distress and inconvenience as a result of the administration of the CPL Diploma;
- Interest and legal costs.
In November 2022, the Honourable Justice Dixon approved the settlement in the BHI Student Pilot Class Action. Gordon Legal are proud of the settlement that has been achieved and believe that the Settlement Scheme represents an excellent outcome for Group Members as it provides them with a more certain outcome, more efficiently and at lower cost than any of the available alternatives.
- Amended Writ and Amended Statement of Claim
- BHI Defence to Amended Statement of Claim
- Third Party Notice
- Soar defence to the Third Party Notice
- Soar defence to Amended Statement of Claim
- Opt out notice
- Court Orders – 25 May 2020
- Court Orders – 7 July 2020
- Court Orders – 22 July 2020
- Court Orders – 19 August 2020
- Court Orders – 25 August 2020
- Court Orders – 14 October 2020
- Court Orders – 27 January 2021
- Court Orders – 25 February 2021
- Court Orders – 25 May 2021
- Court Orders – 28 May 2021
- Court Orders – 12 July 2021
- Court Orders – 14 October 2021
- Court Orders – 31 October 2021
- Court Orders – 29 April 2022
- Court Orders – 11 May 2022
- Court Orders – 10 June 2022
- Court Orders – 1 August 2022
- Court Orders – 23 August 2022
- Court Orders – 16 September 2022
- Court Orders – 16 September 2022 – Special Referee
- Court Orders – 29 November 2022
- Settlement Approval Judgement