Vocation Limited Class Action
This website contains important information about the Vocation Limited Class Action proceeding which is currently before the Federal Court of Australia (VID 434 of 2015).
What is the Vocation class action about?
The Vocation Class Action, is brought on behalf of the Applicant, Ms Cheryl Whittenbury, on her own behalf and on behalf of all persons who acquired shares in former education and training provider Vocation Limited (in liquidation) (Vocation) between 27 November 2013 and 4 December 2014.
The Applicant in the Vocation Limited Class Action alleges, among other things, that Vocation made misleading or deceptive statements in, and omitted information that was required to be disclosed in, its prospectus, contravened the continuous disclosure requirements of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth), or otherwise made statements that were misleading or deceptive, thereby causing loss to persons who acquired an interest in ordinary shares in Vocation shares during the period 27 November 2013 and 4 December 2014 (inclusive).
The Applicant also claims that Vocation’s former auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), caused loss to group members by making certain statements while retained to carry out an audit of Vocation Limited’s FY2014 financial report.
The Applicant further alleges that certain of Vocation’s directors, namely Mark Hutchinson, John Dawkins and Manvinder Gréwal engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
PWC has filed cross-claims joining the following parties as cross-respondents to the proceeding:
- Vocation’s former lawyers, the Partners of Johnson Winter and Slattery (JWS); and
- Certain of Vocation’s former officers and directors, Mark Hutchinson, Manvinder Grewal, John Dawkins, Stephen Tucker, Michelle Tredenick and Douglas Halley (the Officers and Directors).
A number of the cross-respondents have also filed their own cross-claims, as follows:
- John Dawkins (Vocation’s former chair) filed a cross-claim against JWS;
- JWS filed a cross-claim against Vocation and the Officers and Directors; and
- Mark Hutchinson (Vocation’s former CEO) filed a cross-claim against JWS;
- Manvinder Grewal (Vocation’s former CFO) filed a cross-claim against JWS.
For further information about the Vocation Class Action, refer to the FAQ section below.
Update on proceeding
On 30 November 2021, the parties to the class action announced that they had reached an agreement to settle the Vocation Class Action. Under the agreement, the Respondents and Cross-Respondents will pay a total of $50 million, inclusive of interest and costs, to settle the claims of group members in the Vocation Class Action. This agreement was subject to approval by the Federal Court of Australia.
We are pleased to advise that, following evidence prepared and filed by the Applicant in support of the application for approval of the settlement, his Honour Justice Anastassiou of the Federal Court of Australia made orders on 23 July 2021 approving the settlement of the proceeding, having found that the settlement is fair and reasonable and in the interests of Group Members as a whole, and having regard to the claims made on behalf of Group Members who will be bound by the settlement. A copy of the judgment and the orders is available for download on this website (see “Documents” below).
Accordingly, the settlement sum will henceforth be distributed in accordance with the Settlement Distribution Scheme.
Slater and Gordon and Maurice Blackburn have been appointed jointly as Administrators of the Settlement Distribution Scheme.
Group Members who registered their claims in the Vocation Class Action will be contacted in due course to provide details to facilitate the distribution of their entitlements.
If there is anything of which you are unsure, you should seek your own legal advice or contact:
- Maurice Blackburn Lawyers at VocationCA@mauriceblackburn.com.au or 1800 645 488; or
- Slater and Gordon Lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org on 1800 555 777.
Frequently asked questions
You are a class member if you:
- Acquired an interest in fully paid ordinary shares in Vocation Limited during the period between 27 November 2013 and 4 December 2014 (inclusive);
- Suffered loss or damage by reason of the conduct of the Respondents, as alleged in the Amended Consolidated Statement of Claim;
- Are not any of the following:
- A related party of Vocation Limited;
- A related body corporate of Vocation Limited;
- An associated entity of Vocation Limited;
- A director, an officer or a close associate of Vocation Limited;
- John William Cruse Webster (as Trustee for the Elcar Pty Ltd Super Fund Trust) being the Plaintiff in proceedings VID 228/2017 against Vocation in the Federal Court of Australia.
If you are a class member you should read the Court approved notice regarding the Vocation Limited Class Action.
A class action is an action that is brought by one person (an Applicant) on his or her own behalf and on behalf of a class of people (class members) against another person or persons (Respondents) where the Applicant and the class members have similar claims against the Respondents.
Class members in a class action are not individually responsible for the legal costs associated with bringing the class action. In a class action, only the Applicant is responsible for the costs.
Class members are “bound” by the outcome in the class action, unless they have opted out of the proceeding. A binding result can happen in two ways being either a judgment following a trial, or a settlement at any time. If there is a judgment or a settlement of a class action class members will not be able pursue the same claims and may not be able to pursue similar or related claims against the Respondents in other legal proceedings. Class members should note that:
- in a judgment following trial, the Court will decide various factual and legal issues in respect of the claims made by the Applicant and class members. Unless those decisions are successfully appealed they bind the Applicant, class members and the Respondents. Importantly, if there are other proceedings between a class member and the Respondents, it may be that neither of them will be permitted to raise arguments in that proceeding which are inconsistent with a factual or legal issue decided in the class action;
- in a settlement of a class action, where the settlement provides for compensation to class members it is likely to extinguish all rights to compensation which a class member might have against the Respondents which arise in any way out of the events or transactions which are the subject-matter of the class action and may also extinguish all rights to compensation which a class member might have against the Respondents’ related entities (including officers and former officers).
On around 21 January 2019, a notice was distributed which informed Group Members of a Court order requiring persons to register their claims by no later than 4 March 2019 (the Class Deadline) if they wished to participate in any future settlement of the claim.
If you registered your claim prior to the Class Deadline, or your claims were deemed to already be registered (because you had entered into a funding agreement with the Funders or a retainer with Slater and Gordon or Maurice Blackburn), you are a Registered Group Member and do not need to do anything further to participate in the settlement.
Unless the Court otherwise orders, if your claim is not registered, you may still be a Group Member but are not entitled to participate in the Proposed Settlement and you are not entitled to receive any compensation from it (Unregistered Group Member). Unregistered Group Members are also barred from making any claim against the Respondents in respect of the subject matter of the Proceeding.
If you are an Unregistered Group Member and you now wish to participate in the Proposed Settlement, please notify Omni Bridgeway on 1800 016 464 or by email at email@example.com by no later than 26 February 2021. Your wish to register for the Proposed Settlement after the Class Deadline will be notified to the Court, which will decide on the settlement approval whether you are entitled to participate in the settlement
The distribution of the settlement in accordance with the Settlement Distribution Scheme will commence shortly after the time for bringing any appeal of the orders made approving the settlement expires. We anticipate that we will begin making payments to registered Group Members from mid to late September 2021.
Registered Group Members will be contacted in the coming weeks to provide details, including banking details, to facilitate distribution of Group Member’s entitlements.
We confirm that there is otherwise no action required of you as a Group Member in the Vocation Class Action.
Copies of relevant Court documents can be downloaded under the “Documents” heading above.
If you need further information about the Proposed Settlement or if you have any questions about the matters contained in the Notice of Proposed Settlement, please contact Omni Bridgeway on 1800 016 464 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.