find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Lawyers in bushfire class action experience brain freeze

Lawyers in bushfire class action experience brain freeze

Every now and then, esteemed members of the legal profession do something that really makes Folklaw wonder what on earth they were thinking.One such case has recently emerged in Victoria, with…

Every now and then, esteemed members of the legal profession do something that really makes Folklaw wonder what on earth they were thinking.

One such case has recently emerged in Victoria, with the team at Oldham Naidoo Lawyers showing that high intellect and ethics were - at least temporarily - nowhere to be found when they decided to launch a class action back in 2008.

The Age reports that Oldham Naidoo partner Daniel Oldham commenced a class action in the name of a Melbourne doctor, Hershal Cohen. The problem is that the good Dr Cohen had no idea that he was named as the lead plaintiff in the action.

This minor issue soon came to light, and Supreme Court Judge Jack Forrest has now been left to decide whether or not to throw the class action out, in light of the fact that Oldham admitted an "abuse of process" did indeed take place.

Speaking of the law firm's conduct, Judge Forrest said, "The ignorance is breathtaking" and mentioned that there might be future scrutiny of Oldham's activities by other legal bodies.

The class action was launched on 24 December 2008, just prior to the expiration of the six-year statute of limitations following the 2003 Victorian alpine bushfires which destroyed more than 1 million hectares of land. The class action was based on accusations that the government failed to adequately back-burn and reduce forest-floor litter in state parks, thus putting private property at risk.

The court heard that Oldham Naidoo Lawyers had discussed the possibility of becoming a group member in the class action with Dr Cohen, though they never suggested he would be named as the lead plaintiff.

The state government is seeking to have the action thrown out, with Peter Riordan SC suggesting that "the court would not want to see its processes abused".

"There are reasons why in a class action solicitors who may stand to gain substantial fees may ... file proceedings," Riordan said.

Riordan accused Oldham of deliberately concealing the lawsuit from Dr Cohen while knowing he did not own any property pertinent to the case, and deliberately misleading the court by claiming Dr Cohen had actually instructed him to act.

Stewart Anderson SC, acting for Oldham Naidoo, said dismissing the class action would cause overwhelming prejudice to class action group members because they would be unable to make a claim.

However, Riordan was quick to point out that no such people had actually come forward, apart from one man who now happens to live in Switzerland.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers in bushfire class action experience brain freeze
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Consultation
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
IBA
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Oct 23 2017
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...