17 January 2020
On 16 September 2019, in a landmark decision, the Court of Appeal ruled that Mr and Mrs Ross may bring a class action against Southern Response on an opt-out basis on behalf of all policyholders who have allegedly suffered loss due to Southern Response’s misleading and deceptive conduct.
In October, Southern Response applied to the Supreme Court for permission to bring an appeal. The Supreme Court has now given Southern Response permission to appeal, and has set a date of 23 and 24 March 2020 to hear the appeal.
In the hearing, Southern Response will try to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision allowing the opt-out class action to proceed against Southern Response. The class action legal team will argue that the Court of Appeal’s judgment should stand.
Because of the upcoming Supreme Court hearing, the parties have agreed to stay (i.e. to put on hold) the application for a common fund order in the High Court, which had been scheduled for a hearing on 16 and 17 March 2020. The stay will be lifted after the Supreme Court appeal is decided.
In other news, Southern Response is also appealing the decision in Dodds v Southern Response, in which the High Court found that Southern Response had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and misrepresentation. That appeal will be heard in the Court of Appeal in May 2020. The High Court’s findings in the Dodds case are similar or identical to the allegations Mr and Mrs Ross are making in the class action.