Court of Appeal reserves James Hardie decision

Following up on our previous blog on the James Hardie class action claim; last week the Court of Appeal heard the appeal and reserved its decision. This can be expected in several weeks’ time.

The High Court’s ruling allowed 15 unit owners from Oteha Valley Estate to pursue their multi-unit complex claim, by joining claims made by two unit owners within the 10-year limit.

If the Court of Appeal confirms the High Court decision, this will mean that the class-action will go ahead.

On the other hand, if the Court of Appeal overturns the decision, this will mean that only claims brought before the 10th anniversary of the code compliance certificate being issued will be allowed to go to trial. The result of this would be that the class-action suit cannot be pursued and only owners who brought their claim within the time limit will be able to recover.

Counsel for Auckland Council said the Weathertight Homes Act was “not about granting paramountcy of money recovery,” rather it was about making the claims process efficient.

It is not yet clear whether the two claimants who withdrew their claims to join the multi- unit claim will be able to recover.

The decision will establish whether future leaky building claimants who want to be able to recover will need to bring their claims within the 10 year time limit. No matter what the decision is; if you suspect you own a leaky building, it is important to act fast and seek advice in order to qualify under the WHRS scheme.

Stay posted on our blog for when the decision is announced and the impact it will have on the construction industry.

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