27 February 2020
Substantial National Fund Needed to Achieve Banking Justice
The Roberts Gray Lawyers team has called for high priority action for urgent establishment of a national fund to allow victims of bank actions to be able to take legal action.
Mr Kevin Broadribb, Principal Government Relations at Roberts Gray Lawyers said that there is a real danger that the valuable work of the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry will be lost through inaction.
“Australian governments are notorious for failing to set in place limits to banking industry collusion and corruption,” he said.
“The Australian Financial Complaints Authority, established in November 2018, will achieve nothing for consumers.”
“It is not subject to government scrutiny, has no clear requirements for compensation arrangements and has no obligation to report criminal activity,” he said.
“A substantial, independent fund to support victims of banking industry crime to take legal action on a fair and reasonable basis is the rock bottom prerequisite for forcing the banking industry to pay compensation to victims,” said Mr Broadribb.
Mr Rhys Roberts, Managing Director of Roberts Gray Lawyers said that Commissioner Kenneth Maddison Haynes, AC QC had undertaken outstanding work in unlocking details of banking industry crime. “It is now absolutely critical that the Federal Government takes appropriate action to deliver justice,” said Mr Roberts.
“The Banking Royal Commission report recommended ‘a compensation scheme of last resort’ and this must be established, as a priority, to ensure everybody who has been a victim of bank corruption and greed can actually afford to take legal action.”
“As indicated in the Commission report, this can be covered by a levy on banks that have been found guilty of misconduct,” he said.
“The levy must be substantial and not just a token effort,” said Mr Roberts.
“Roberts Gray Lawyers has achieved success in legal actions taken against banks but we remain concerned that many victims, who are genuinely entitled to compensation, simply can’t take the risk of trying to fund legal action.”
“We are giving a level of free consultation for people who have been exploited by banks but, even when they have a rock-solid case, the financial risks are deterring many from taking legal action.”
“Banks are hiding behind the fact that they have massive legal resources and can work to run up costs for anybody who wants to take them to court. They are still immoral when dealing with these matters.”
“Australian governments have an appalling record of caving in to bank pressure. The Hayne Royal Commission must not become a waste of time and a waste of taxpayers’ money: a substantially funded scheme must underpin efforts at justice for the victims of banking industry criminal action,” said Mr Roberts.
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