Gladstone Ports Corporation Limited-v-Murphy Operator Pty-Ltd Ors 2020 QCA 250

Where the appellant dredged waterways, excavated soil, and placed the materials dredged or excavated into various other places around the port of Gladstone – where the first, second and third respondents are plaintiffs in a class action brought pursuant to Part 13A of the Civil Proceedings Act 2011 (Qld) – where the respondents allege that, due to the appellant’s negligence and failure to comply with certain statutory obligations, the waters surrounding the port of Gladstone were polluted and they suffered loss of profits as a result – where the respondents’ solicitor was able to obtain the agreement of the fourth respondent (the Funder) to fund the class action – where there were several agreements entered into by the respondents’ solicitors, the Members of the class actions and the Funder – where the appellant sought an order that the respondents provide security for costs – where the appellant contended before the learned judge of first instance that the funding agreement between the claimants and the Funder was champertous and unenforceable and, as a consequence, there was a “risk” that the security deed would be “tainted” and therefore also unenforceable – where the learned judge did not decide this question of law – where there was no appeal against the security for costs order – where the respondents then sought an order joining the Funder as a respondent to the application and also sought a declaration that the Representative agreement and the Member agreement were “not, by reason of maintenance, champerty or public policy, unenforceable” – where the respondents sought an order by the learned judge to refer the question to the Court of Appeal for its “opinion” pursuant to Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 (Qld) r 483(2) – where the respondents are seeking an advisory opinion from the Court – where the appellant at this appeal did not submit that entry into the agreements constitute, or that anything done or likely to be done under them would constitute, an abuse of the court’s process – where the appellant submits that the funding agreements were tantamount to an impermissible assignment because their effect was to confer upon the Funder the practical control of the litigation – whether the agreements are unenforceable as being against public policy.





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