In the Victorian Supreme Court, Forrest J has ordered that any potential plaintiffs who want to claim for damages must register with the law firm Maurice Blackburn by 22 March 2013.

This action is a class action and the representative plaintiff, representing the entire class of potential plaintiffs, is represented by Maurice Blackburn.  There have been attempts to settle the case but these have not been successful in part because the defendants don’t know how large the group of potential plaintiffs is and therefore can’t determine, if they settle, how big the damages bill will be.  To assist settlement the representative plaintiff sought an order requiring any potential claimant to register with Maurice Blackburn.

Anyone who does not register will be excluded from the class action and will therefore not benefit from any decision at trial or any settlement, but they will still be able to bring an action in their own name.

This decision will have significant implications for anyone who wishes to sue over the Kilmore East/Kinglake fire so the court was very concerned to make sure that the decision was brought to the attention of potential claimants.  Any reader of this blog who is a potential claimant, or knows of a potential claimant, is encouraged to seek legal advice on how the decision may affect them and what they should do about it.  You can read the press release from Maurice Blacburn here: http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/news/press-releases–announcements/2013/kilmore-east—kinglake-bushfire-class-action-to-close-.aspx

Various forms to regsiter a claim, as well as details of the claim including the statement of claim and the defences filed by the various defendants including DSE and the CFA (“the State Parties”) can be found on a dedicated website at http://kinglakebushfireclassaction.com.au/.

Michael Eburn

13 February 2013