Claims

Registry

Victorian Registry, Federal Court of Australia (VID434/2015).

Presiding Judge

Justice Middleton.

Solicitors for Applicants

Maurice Blackburn, Slater & Gordon (two claims, two applicants).

Solicitors for Respondent

Solicitor for the First Respondent and Cross-Claimant: Gilbert + Tobin.

Solicitor for the Second Respondent: Herbert Smith Freehills.

Funder

International Litigation Funding Partners Pte Ltd  (funding the claim conducted by Maurice Blackburn).

IMF  Bentham (funding the claim conducted by Slater & Gordon).

Status of Claim

On 27 October 2017, the Federal Court of Australia made orders requiring the applicants in the Vocation class action to file a Further Amended Statement of Claim and an expert report in relation to their claim against PricewaterhouseCoopers on or before 2 February 2018.

The Court has also made orders requiring Vocation to provide to the applicants certain categories of documents relevant to the applicants’ claims against Vocation on or before 22 December 2017.

The proceeding is listed for a further case management hearing on 16 March 2018.

Capacity to Join

Slater & Gordon’s claim is closed to newcomers and all potential claimants are currently in Maurice Blackburn’s ‘open’ class.

Background

Vocation Limited was a company whose primary business was running vocational education colleges. On 26 November 2015, Vocation announced that it had gone into voluntary administration, a decision resulting from the loss of $19.6m in Government funding and related ongoing contracts from the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (‘DEECD’). This arose due to serious compliance issues at two of Vocation’s Registered Training Organisations (‘RTOs’) in Victoria. DEECD had concluded that Vocation’s RTOs had enrolled students in inappropriate courses and that students had received poor quality training. It found Vocation relied too heavily on the third parties that referred students and had failed to impose adequate controls to manage the performance of those third parties.

In the days immediately following the announcement, Vocation’s share price fell more than 60 percent.

Action Pleaded

From late 2014, Vocation publicly maintained that it expected DEECD’s review would not have a material outcome. Then on 27 October 2014, Vocation announced a settlement under which DEECD would end its investigation in exchange for Vocation surrendering the Government funding and related contracts held by the applicable RTOs (BAWM and Aspin) in early 2015.

The class action alleges that Vocation was aware of the BAWM and Aspin compliance issues and was required to disclose that information to the market. It also claims that Vocation misled the market regarding the nature and extent of the DEECD review and failed to disclose that there were serious compliance issues at BAWM and Aspin.

Status of Claim

Case Management Hearing on 3 Aug 2018.