Gladstone Ports Corporation.
Gladstone Ports Corporation.

Hurdle in dredging class action against GPC

THERE is a possible stumbling block in the way of the class action lawsuit against Gladstone Ports Corporation in regards to its 2011 dredging project.

A notification ordered by the Supreme Court of Queensland, published in Monday's edition of The Observer, said GPC disputed the funding arrangement for the plaintiffs, claiming it is not permissible under Queensland law.

In February, Hervey Bay-based law firm Law Essentials announced on its website it had secured a funding agreement with Litigation Capital Management.

LCM is an Australian-based company that specialises in providing finance to legal claims and has offices across Australia, the United Kingdom and Singapore.

The notice stated GPC believed the arrangement where LCM would receive a share of the compensation constituted "unlawful champerty”.

If the court agrees with GPC's argument, LCM will not be allowed to fund the class action suit.

Law Essentials director Chris Thompson said greater proceedings would continue as normal.

"The funding application in July may bear upon the future conduct of the case, but that'll depend on the court's decision,” Mr Thompson said.

In January, more than 150 people working in the local seafood industry moved ahead with the suit against the Ports Corporation.

They claim the dredging project and the disposal of sediment from the harbour reduced the quality of the water, which in turn reduced the quality of seafood available.

GPC was contacted for comment yesterday but did not respond by our print deadline.