NSW Courts To Break Unfair Settlements Forced On Abuse Survivors by Churches
New reforms in NSW law mean that courts can redress unfair settlements forced on child sexual abuse survivors by churches and other institutions and lift restrictions on them speaking out publicly.
On 9 November 2021, the New South Wales Parliament passed a law aimed at bringing a measure of justice to all those victims of child sexual and physical abuse who settled their claims before March 2016.
Prior to such time, the statute of limitations created a grossly unequal bargaining position where institutions knew that survivors of abuse face limited prospects of success in court due to the lapse of time.
New laws passed yesterday permit courts to set aside settlements reached before March 2016 where
- it is just and reasonable to do so
- a previous settlement was too low
- a previous settlement was reached in circumstances of unequal bargaining position
- a previous settlement is likely to be one the court extinguishes
thus allowing a victim to obtain just compensation.
Bypassing such laws, New South Wales joins most other states where such legislation already exists. Similar legislation, particularly in Queensland, has not had the desired effect.
We at Koffels have every reason to believe that the New South Wales law is will achieve a measure of greater justice for victims of abuse and recommend that legal advice be sought by anyone with an agreement entered into before March 2016.
Koffels are already acting upon a number of such matters and if you would like to add your voice heard, please contact us.