As you are aware more than 150 student pilots enrolled in the Diploma of Aviation – Commercial Pilot’s Licence – Aeroplane (AV150215) (the CPL Diploma) have contacted us to date.
We are continuing to contact all of those that have contacted us and to complete our investigation of the concerns that have been raised.
We understand from speaking to many of you already that BHI and Soar’s ongoing conduct is creating a great deal of confusion, uncertainty and ongoing distress.
We are not able to provide you with advice about the merits of any potential claim against BHI and/or Soar until our investigations have been completed.
Our investigations are progressing quickly and we expect to be in a position to provide our advice to you over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, we have compiled the following information addressing the questions that have been raised most frequently with us:
1. What is Gordon Legal doing to investigate our concerns?
Gordon Legal has assembled a team of its own lawyers who are experienced in dispute resolution and complex litigation (including class actions) and external barristers, including one of Victoria’s most experienced QC’s. The legal team is in the process of gathering information from the Student Pilots who have contacted us, reviewing the documents and other information relevant to the CPL Diploma and the regulatory environment in which it is offered.
We are also interviewing potential lay and expert witnesses who have experience either directly with the CLP Diploma or with aviation training in general.
2. What have we learned so far?
Whilst our work is ongoing, it is clear that the marketing and other promotional material published by BHI and Soar made several representations that were likely to be misleading or deceptive.
It is clear that the CPL Diploma was not constructed in a way which a reasonable person could consider to be adequate or sufficient judged against what was represented to student pilots prior to enrolment.
3. Are Student Pilots enrolled in the CPL Diploma entitled to require their log books to be returned to them?
Yes. Whilst Soar has confirmed that they will return log books to students we have heard reports that they continue to ask Student Pilots to sign a form which includes a statement intended to release Soar and/or BHI from its ongoing obligations. You should not agree to sign that form or document. The only document you should agree to sign is one simply acknowledging that the log book has been returned to you.
4. Are any individual circumstances able to be taken into account in a group or class action?
Yes. If we are not successful in resolving the concerns of the Student Pilot Group informally and we recommend that a class action legal proceeding be commenced it will be able to deal both with the common questions of fact and law which will need to be determined as well as the individual circumstances of each Student Pilot. In the event that an individual Student Pilot’s circumstances mean that participation in the class action is not the most effective way of them achieving a successful outcome, they will be able to opt out of the class action proceedings and pursue their own individual claim.
5. If BHI are “refunding” enrolment tuition fees through our VET Student loans does this mean that we can’t recover the other losses that we have incurred?
No. Whilst it is still too early to assess the full impact of BHI refunding VET Student loans, it appears likely that a simple refund (in part or in whole) of their VET Student Loan will not adequately compensate each student for their broader individual losses.
6. BHI/Soar have told me that I should continue to attend classes or flight training at BHI, should I do so?
No. Until BHI is able to clarify in writing what the status of their ongoing tuition and training will be and that it will meet all of CASA’s and ASQA’s regulatory requirements, we do not think that it is reasonable for you to attend further classes or flight training lessons that will increase your VET Student loan.
7. Will I be charged any legal costs if I contact Gordon Legal?
Gordon Legal is undertaking the investigation on behalf of Student Pilots on a No Win No Fee basis.
Once we have completed our investigations, we will provide you with legal advice about the next steps including providing you with a Disclosure Statement and Legal Costs Agreement for you to consider. You do not have any obligation to pay legal costs to Gordon Legal unless you decide to enter into a legal costs agreement or a class action is commenced in which you are a group member – and the court makes an order requiring all group members to contribute to the legal costs not recovered from the other party in the event that the proceeding is successful.