Redress & civil litigation: Royal Commission report

Although the Royal Commission’s data highlights medical practitioners as the source of sex abuse in only 0.3% of cases, the Commission’s report released yesterday may be of interest.

Entitled Redress and Civil Litigation Report, the document contains extensive recommendations. The overarching conclusion is that the best structure for providing redress is through a single national redress scheme established by the Australian Government (recommendation 26). An internal review process was also suggested (recommendation 62).

The modelling of funding requirements appearing in the report is based on an average monetary payment of $65,000, which is the average payment recommended. Also of interest are recommendations 63 – 65:

  • As a condition of making a monetary payment, a redress scheme should require an applicant to release the scheme (including the contributing government or governments) and the institution from any further liability for institutional child sexual abuse by executing a deed of release.
  • A redress scheme should fund, at a fixed price, a legal consultation for an applicant before the applicant decides whether or not to accept the offer of redress and grant the required releases.
  • No confidentiality obligations should be imposed on applicants for redress.

Civil litigation compensation

For existing civil litigation compensation mechanisms, the report recommends removal of limitation periods (recommendation 85) and the legislative imposition of a non-delegable duty on certain institutions for institutional child sexual abuse despite it being the deliberate criminal act of a person associated with the institution (recommendation 89). Appearing at 94 is a recommendation that where a ‘defendant’ institution is an institution with which a property trust is associated, then unless the institution nominates a proper defendant to sue that has sufficient assets to meet any liability arising from the proceedings, the property trust is a proper defendant to the litigation and any liability of the institution with which the property trust is associated that arises from the proceedings can be met from the assets of the trust.

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