Skip to content

A beginners guide to class actions in Australia


Paul O’Brien – Director
Alexandra Bartlett
Harriet Price


These actions may be described as cases where multiple claims, raising similar or common issues of fact or law, may be litigated by a representative plaintiff or plaintiffs on behalf of a broader group or class of persons, the members of which group are not, themselves, directly named as parties to the litigation. In many ways, this development has been a result of American influences on Australian law.

There are, however, significant differences between class action law and practice in Australia and the United States. In a technical sense, class actions have developed in Australia as a result of the introduction of American style class action legislation in Australian jurisdictions (the Federal jurisdiction and the jurisdictions of the State of Victoria, New South Wales and most recently, Queensland), and as a result of a change in judicial attitudes towards the use of older style ‘representative proceedings’ in other jurisdictions which lack specific class action legislation 1.

Class actions are now firmly established as part of Australia’s litigation landscape.

Download PDF of article

This article is intended to provide a general summary only and does not purport to be comprehensive. It is not, and not intended to be, legal advice.
© YPOL Pty Limited