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Ian Dallas

Published: 12 March 2021
Author: Ian Dallas

Legal breakthrough in Child Migrant compensation

Lawyers in Victoria have worked out a legal means of winning compensation cases for former child migrants. Several cases involving former child migrants have now been won through the courts by the law firm RCT Law (Ryan Carlisle Thomas).

Previously, compensation has been difficult to secure, a failure which has been reported on recently by ABC News.

It was reported that former child migrants from the Fairbridge Farm School in Western Australia had made no progress in their claims to the Commonwealth Redress Schemes. This situation is the result of there being no organisation that would qualify to meet the terms of the Commonwealth Redress Scheme.

Redress is not available to survivors of child sexual abuse unless an organisation exists and that organisation has been accepted by the Commonwealth Government into the scheme.

The former child migrants at Fairbridge have expressed frustration at not being able to receive Redress for the abuse they suffered. This is a frustration also shared by former child migrants placed at other institutions, which no longer exist.

However, there is a far better way for the child migrants to seek compensation than through the widely acknowledged defective Redress Scheme.

Institutional abuse lawyers at RCT Law are successfully making claims for former child migrants. These claims have now been resolved using an expedited process which does not follow the Redress scheme. Instead, claims are made using the court structure and are made against the relevant State Government and the Commonwealth Government, who have demonstrated their willingness to engage meaningfully in this process.

Recent experience at RCT Law shows that claims can be made speedily without engaging too heavily in legal procedure. The financial results for the clients have been very satisfactory. Former child migrant clients have reported a great sense of achievement, in being able to finalise their claims promptly, and for authorities to hear their stories and offer apologies where requested.

By way of contrast, claims to the Redress Scheme, even where there is an institution that can be held responsible, do not result in good financial outcomes. Further, they get bogged down in bureaucracy, as the story from the ABC shows.

Former child migrants are therefore encouraged to seek legal advice and to use the legal process. If they do so, the likelihood is they will achieve a very good result in a speedy time frame.

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