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In this sequel to our 'Back from the brink, the future of litigation' session, we explore counter-cyclical risks and the rise of ESG. As Covid-19 continues to impact our world, we look at predicted trends in class actions beyond the pandemic.

In this session, we examine how complex litigation class actions are somewhat counter-cyclical. When there is increased volatility coupled with an economic downturn, class actions emerge rapidly. With more focus placed on consumer, employment and investor claims, businesses continue to face litigation risk associated with refunds or credits for events that have been cancelled. This is also observed for proceedings relating to events that have given rise to infection risk. Consequently, a whole complex web of Covid related liability issues have now taken precedence in courts.

The employment sector has also seen class actions emerge with key risk areas spanning work place health and safety, negligence, dismissal related and discrimination claims - as we emerge out of the contractual environment that has characterised Covid-19. A new wave of litigation is now being introduced as the first rather than last line of defense to a disruptive market facing unprecedented losses.

We also discuss claims relating to business interruption insurance and shareholder class action risks which are now taking precedence in Australia. The pandemic has definitely seen a heightened surge in class actions; with an average of 60 class actions filed each year compared to the 30-year average of 25 class action claims a year.

This session covers:

  • Post pandemic class action claims and how the Australian government has introduced more legislation around litigation funding.
  • A broader perspective on counter-cyclical risks, closures of businesses and the rise of ESG.
  • Rethinking of organizations and corporate governance disclosures to demonstrate their efforts towards a lower carbon environment, workplace and sexual harassment compliance and best practices post pandemic.

The webinar was hosted by Stephen Higginson, Head of Customer & Distribution for Australia and New Zealand at Swiss Re Corporate Solutions and was joined by:

  • Jason Betts – Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills