Brokers victims lose web bid

MORE than 2,000 plaintiffs involved with legal action against the Finance Brokers Supervisory Board have lost an attempt in the Supreme Court of WA to have copies of all documents in the proceedings published openly on the Insolvency Management Fund’s website.

Through their legal representative, Solomon Brothers partner Doug Solomon, the plaintiffs claimed the application was to display the information as “an effective means of communication”.

He argued that the Supreme Court had discretion to allow the information to be published on the website.

It has previously been held by the full court that members of the public have a common law right to inspect, but not take a copy of, court orders, writs and statements of claim used in open court.

In her decision, Justice Carmel McLure says the application was presented on the basis that unrestricted access to the IMF website by strangers to the litigation was an “incidental, albeit desirable, consequence of the need to communicate

effectively and cost efficiently with plaintiffs”.

“I am not satisfied that the need is proven,” she says.

Justice McLure pointed to numerous options besides using the IMF website that were available for disseminating information, such as e-mail or using a secure section of said website.

The Insolvency Management Fund, backed by WA entrepreneur Danny Hill, is funding the plaintiffs’ legal action against the FBSB.

In return for funding the litigation, IMF will be repaid all the monies expended in the legal action and then a net 30 per cent of any judgement.

All plaintiffs claim to have suffered loss and damage as a result of dealings with finance brokers licensed under the Finance Brokers Control Act. They are accusing the FBSB of misfeasance in public office and negligence.

A FBSB spokesman said this particular action was a small part of the main claim being made against the board.

“This doesn’t have any bearing on the board’s operation. It’s business as usual for us,” he said.

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