King & Wood Mallesons

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Federal Court rejects attempt to revive Bell Potter class action

By Wilson Antoon

The Federal Court recently rejected an attempt to reconstitute the Bell Potter class action as a representative proceeding, finding that the person proposed as representative applicant was not a group member and as such could not represent the class: Meaden v Bell Potter Securities Ltd (No 6) [2013] FCA 1176.

While the court found that it had the power to make an order reconstituting the class action, it could not exercise that power in circumstances where the proposed new representative applicant was never a group member in the class action. The attempt to reconstitute the class action illustrates the clear choice of plaintiff law firms and litigation funders for class actions as a vehicle for advancing related claims, over more traditional procedures such as multi-applicant proceedings.

In October 2010, Ms Meaden commenced the class action against Bell Potter on behalf of a group of the stockbroking firm’s clients who acquired shares in Progen Pharmaceuticals. The price of the shares collapsed after trials of the company’s drug were suspended. The proceedings alleged market manipulation and misleading or deceptive conduct…

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