If you signed a Deed, is it always binding?Ross Koffel
To Victims of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse: If you signed a Deed, is it always binding?
We are repeatedly hearing stories of victims of childhood institutional abuse who over the years have received paltry payouts from their abusers after signing a Deed, declaring that they will no longer pursue the institution for further claims, and entering into a non-disclosure agreement. In many circumstances these deeds can be binding and you have no redress. There are however, a number of instances where we would consider reviewing such a deed and the circumstances under which they were signed, and form a view as to whether such agreements could indeed be over-turned.
We have heard dreadful stories of coercion, lack of independent legal advice, and pressure being brought to bear on victims when they are most vulnerable. We are aware of victims being confronted by their perpetrators in informal meetings to enter into agreements that they didn’t understand, nor were they given access to independent professional advice. To come from a position of knowledge and power, and to coerce someone who is vulnerable emotionally, financially stressed and ignorant of the proper processes for such transactions, is contrary to accepted legal practice and those that conduct themselves in that manner know perfectly well that is the case.
If you think that you may be the victim of unethical practices under which you entered into a Deed, and unknowingly accepted an offer of settlement far below what would be considered due compensation, there may be a possibility we can help.
The Victorian Government is currently reviewing the validity of such agreements, and hopefully other jurisdictions will follow their lead. Until such time, there may still be avenues to pursue a just and fair recourse to unethical practices.
Contact us, and we will try to help where we can.