Last month, the Civil Liability Amendment (Child Abuse) Bill was introduced in NSW. If passed, this piece of legislation will provide a clear pathway for survivors of child abuse to be fairly compensated for the pain and suffering they have endured.
The Bill builds on 2016 and 2018 reforms which emerged in response to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It aims to remove barriers to survivors accessing justice.
Survivors who were coerced into inadequate settlements, or pressured by impending limitation periods, will now be able to apply to have the previous settlement agreement set aside.
Courts will be able to overturn settlement agreements where it is ‘just and reasonable to do so’. A court will consider factors including the amount paid to the survivor under the agreement and the bargaining position and conduct of the parties. Importantly, a court can also consider any other matter which it considers relevant.
If the court decides to overturn an agreement, it may also set aside other things that give effect to the agreement; including a contract, deed or judgment of the court or of a lower court.
Why is this significant?
This Bill would bring NSW in line with other states and territories to empower survivors of institutional child abuse to pursue fairer compensation. With no concrete opposition in Parliament, the Bill seems likely to pass.
Once it does, the lawyers at Chamberlains will be ready to guide survivors through the process of re-settling a claim. We are committed to helping our clients feel heard, understood, and in control of their situation, in order to achieve the compensation they deserve.
Assisted by: Elisabeth Henke