ALPs Access to Justice – it’s time to be nice

COSBOA today acknowledged the importance of the ALP’s legislation on ‘Access to Justice’ when confronting anti-competitive behaviour which has now has passed through the Senate.

Peter Strong CEO of COSBOA stated today “access to justice for small business people has always been an issue for our members. The cost of going to court and facing highly paid barristers and expensive quarrels of lawyers is confronting when you know that to lose the case will bring exorbitant costs to cover the opposing sides legal expenses. We congratulate Bill Shorten and Labor on this initiative.’

The access to justice policy is designed to help small business people take cases of anti-competitive behaviour to court. In the current environment small businesses people are reluctant to take up private litigation against big business due to the power difference and the access to funds that big businesses have while small businesses have limited resources.

COSBOA’s understanding is that this bill will allow a small business person involved in legal action to request a ‘no adverse costs order’. If approved, the small business person will not have the risk of paying the costs of the big business’s legal team if they lose.

Peter Strong added ‘this doesn’t mean that there will be a burgeoning of court cases as it should not be too easy to take any type of legal action. But a small business person with right on their side can feel less fear of failure and may be able to finally have their day in court.

This combined with the changes in section 46 of the competition Act, also known as the effects test, gives more certainty for competition and for the consumer. Nice.”