Gladstone Port Dredging Class Action - Law Essentials

Gladstone Port Dredging Class Action

Why is there a class action about Gladstone Port Dredging?

A class action was brought against Gladstone Ports Corporation on behalf of commercial fishermen for losses due to contamination from toxic dredge spill in 2011-12. See this Courier Mail article for more details.


Hi everyone

Since my update on 27 June, the expert evidence is still being finalised.  It is all extremely complex and everyone is doing their best with their contributions to get the job done.

The court’s timetable for mediation and (if mediation is unsuccessful) the trial have not changed, so it should all completed in 2022 which will be good.

The team for the class action is doing everything they can to present the best case possible on your behalf.

I know it’s tough times in the fishing industry at the moment, with the quota allocations being released and with the flagged total closure of the scallop fishery and other unhelpful decisions by the department.  The fishing industry are traditionally a resilient bunch, and that resilience is needed now like never before it seems.

I will update you next month.

Gladstone Port Dredging Class Action – Update 27 June 2021

Hi Y’all,

You’ve all seen the movie “The Castle” where Dale Kerrigan goes off to the High Court in Canberra to try and save his house. Well on 25 June 2021, the legal team representing all of you went off to the same High Court in Canberra to save this case (the Champerty issue).  

What Gladstone Port Corporation have been doing with repeated costly fights in the courts, is take away your funding of the case. So rather than focus on fighting the main case and addressing the serious allegations of negligence against it, they have been wasting time and money in an effort to rip the guts out of your ability to have this case in the courts at all. Well yesterday, they lost their final attempt to have the fishermens’ litigation funding agreement struck down.  

So that is 3 expensive losses in a row for Gladstone Port Authority. First in front of Justice Crow of the Supreme Court of Queensland in Rockhampton in September 2019. Then in front of the Queensland Court of Appeal  in Brisbane. And now yesterday, in a 3-0 decision handed down immediately following the arguments put forward by both sides, the High Court dismissed Gladstone Port Corporation’s application with costs, saying that the appeal had “no prospects of success”.

The High Court’s judgment means that your case against Gladstone Port Corporation can continue with the financial backing of lead lawyers Clyde & Co and the litigation funder. Gladstone Port Corporation’s efforts to rob you all of your financial backing to run this complex and costly case have been crushed.  

By mid-July it will be the turn of Gladstone Port Corporation to start to file in court their witness statements and expert reports said to support their case which will be a big job which, if history shows, they will try to drag out to try and weaken your desire for a trial.  

In any case, this is a huge win for you all and the effort put in by the Clyde & Co legal team on your behalf, led by my brother Maurice Thompson, to get this further win for you all, has been awesome.

The next mile stone should be us finishing with our expert evidence in mid-July and I will update you again then.

Tight lines

Gladstone Port Dredging Class Action – Update 9 June 2020

Hi Everyone,

It has been a while since my last update sorry.  I will go back to every month from now. Things are still powering along with the class action. 

We are still in the “expert evidence” stage which is the most complicated part of the entire case as you would expect.  There are multiple experts giving reports about different aspects which are required to prove the case for you all. So that certainly takes time. 

The trial date for 2022 has been pushed back from March to July 2022 as a result, because once we submit all the expert reports, GPC then have to have their experts consider those reports and respond with their own.   So still only about a year away from the conclusion, and BEFORE the trial even begins, there is a compulsory mediation to be held.  That will probably be in March 2022 or so.  The case could therefore settle then.

Champerty Case

Many of you might be wondering what happened with this.  The High Court has just provided us with a date where they will hear the arguments as to whether they will allow GPC to proceed with their final appeal. 

The date for that has been set for 25 June  2021, so just around the corner. As mentioned previously, even if GPC were to win that argument, that does not end the case.  I will be in touch with how the High Court argument goes.


Hi Everyone

I’d imagine everyone has been flat out leading up to Easter with orders.  I hope the Palaszczuk lockdown didn’t impact you too badly. The mask wearing is certainly a bit foreign to many regional Queenslanders.  It’s awesome  the announcement that it gets lifted at midday today. Masks continue though for 2 weeks.

It is full steam ahead still with the Class Action.  The most important part of the case is of course the Experts needing to provide extremely detailed reports to support your case against GPC.  It involves multiple experts and a mountain of work.  Nothing has changed with the timelines I put out in the March update.

With the Champerty issue, where GPC appealed to the High Court.  The wheels turn slowly there for sure.  The HC has now agreed to hear the parties on whether special leave is to be granted to hear the appeal.  There is no date yet other than it will NOT be listed before June 2021. The class action continues on in any event.

Have a good Easter!   Eat some chocolate.


Hi y’all

Things are still moving along at a rapid rate.  The expert witness evidence is the most complex of the entire case and is a time consuming task to get the finalised reports. There was a directions hearing in Court last week which confirmed some further timing for these expert reports to be finalised and a timeline for the case to be finalised.

At this stage the Judge wants a Mediation to be held by 24 December this year.  It is a way off from being able to mediate, so in all likelihood, that won’t happen until December. If it does not settle at Mediation by the end of the year, the Trial is to start in Rockhampton on Monday 21 February 2022.


Hi Everyone

I have just found out that GPC are appealing the Champerty/Maintenance decision to the highest court in the land, conveniently called – the High Court.  GPC are desperately trying to take the funding away from you that is helping to run the main case against them. 

Again, nothing changes with the main case itself.  That continues to push forward. The appeal to the High Court is obviously a distraction and it is of course disappointing that the main case cannot get free air to push towards a finish. At this stage the trial for the main case itself is fixed to start on 21 February 2022. 

A mediation though has to happen before the end October 2021. So it could be all finished within the next 10 months or so.