1. Who is running the class actions?

ACA Lawyers is an Australian law firm that focuses on commercial litigation and specialises in class actions. Further information about ACA Lawyers is available at www.acalawyers.com.au.

McLaughlin & Riordan is also an Australian firm with extensive experience in commercial litigation, and which has a long standing relationship with a large portion of the claimant group and a historical involvement in this dispute with a thorough knowledge of the facts and circumstances. Further information about McLaughlin & Riordan is available at http://www.mclaughlin.com.au.

ACA Lawyers and McLaughlin & Riordan are working together on this class action in order to provide the best team with the most valuable skills to this unique claim.

2. What is the class action about?

The class action alleges that the negligent design and implementation of the HIP from January 2009 led, firstly, to significant investment by well-established insulation businesses to meet increased demand, and ultimately to extensive losses suffered by those businesses and by the retrofit insulation industry as a whole when the HIP was abruptly suspended in February 2010.

3. Who is the class action against?

The proposed class action is to be brought against the Commonwealth of Australia. Having entered the field of the retrofit insulation industry, the Commonwealth Government had a duty to take reasonable care to minimise the risk of foreseeable economic loss to pre-existing insulation businesses registered under the HIP from defective design, implementation and/or operation of the HIP.

4. How was the government negligent?

The action alleges that the Government was negligent in, among other things:

  • Failing to include training requirements as conditions for registration under the HIP,
  • Failing to heed industry and expert warnings in relation to product standards and safety concerns, and
  • Failing to provide for the foreseeable negative economic impacts of the HIP in light of its high incentives and short designated timeframe of 2½ years between 1 July 2009 and 31 December 2011.

5. How does the class action work?

Class actions, also known as representative proceedings, are actions brought by multiple people on their own behalf and on behalf of a group of people (“group members”) against the same defendant/s, where the group members’ claims against the defendant/s arise out of the same or similar circumstances.

6. How much will the class action cost?

There is no upfront cost to you. Harbour as the funder is paying the legal costs and will be entitled to a commission based on the amount you recover in respect of the proposed class action.

You will not ever be required to pay any ‘out-of-pocket’ costs. In the event the claim is successful, either by way of judgment or settlement, we will seek to recover costs from the Commonwealth of Australia. Any costs which are not recovered directly from the Commonwealth of Australia may come out of the total damages recovered (subject to any order of the court).

In the event that the proposed class action is unsuccessful, all costs will be paid by Harbour.

7. Who is eligble for the class action?

The proposed class action will be brought on behalf of pre-existing insulation businesses who suffered economic loss as a result of the negligent operation of the HIP.

You are eligible to join the class action if:

(a) you are/were the owner or director of a business involved in retrofitting insulation before 3 February 2009, or
you are/were the owner or director of a business which manufactured insulation before 3 February 2009, 
(b) you suffered economic loss as a result of the HIP.

We are also accepting registrations of interest from:

i. new businesses (those which commenced operation in retrofitting insulation or the manufacture of insulation after 3 February 2009); and
ii. importers and suppliers of insulation (whether before or after 3 February 2009),

however these classes are not yet approved for inclusion in the class action, and may not be included. Your registration ensures that if approval is extended to these classes, you will be notified and given the opportunity to participate.

If you want to know if you are eligible to join the proposed class action please contact us.

8. What about the Home Insulation Program Industry Payment Scheme (HIP-IPS)?

Registering for this class action will not affect your right to claim under the HIP-IPS, however if you accept a payment under the HIP-IPS you will not be able to participate in the class action.

9. What damages can be awarded?

The class action will claim damages for economic loss. The amount of damages will vary from business to business, or person to person, depending upon their individual circumstances.

The types or ‘heads’ of damages that can be claimed are:

  • Costs incurred and thrown away as a result of the suspension of the HIP prematurely and without notice
  • Loss of business profits from 20 February 2010 to 31 December 2010 and alternatively to 31 December 2011
  • Loss or diminution in the value of the claimant business
  • Personal economic losses associated with business losses

10. What sorts of damages are not being claimed?

The types of damages that we will not be claiming for are as follows:

  • Personal injury, or
  • Psychological harm

You should be aware that time limits apply for such claims.

11. How long will any legal proceedings take?

We expect that the class action will take anywhere between one and three years. A number of factors can influence the length of time proceedings may take including the complexity of the litigation and the conduct of the defendants to any class action.

12. Will my contact details be kept private?

Your personal information will only be used for the purpose of the legal proceedings, or as required by the Court or by law. In any other circumstances, we will seek your consent before disclosing any of your personal information. We will not disclose any personal information to third parties, including other clients, except as may be necessary for the purposes of the legal proceedings. A more detailed privacy statement can be found in the terms of our retainer.

13. What do I have to do to participate?

If you believe you may be eligible for the class action and would like to participate, please register your details at www.acaclassactions.com.au or contact us at:

Tel: (02) 9216-9898.
Email: kate.martin@acalawyers.com.au

Once you have registered we will provide you with further information on joining the proposed class action and a Claimant Pack, including a funding agreement and our retainer. If you wish to engage ACA Lawyers and McLaughlin & Riordan you will need to sign and return these documents (or accept them electronically on the ACA Class Actions website) as soon as possible.

Signed documents can be sent to:

Email: info@acalawyers.com.au

HIP Class Action
ACA Lawyers
Level 14, 25 Bligh Street
Sydney NSW 2000

Although your documents should be returned to ACA Lawyers, you may be contacted in response to your registration by either ACA Lawyers or McLaughlin & Riordan.