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Commonwealth Superannuation Law update

08 Dec 2015

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  • Commonwealth Superannuation

The High Court of Australia recently refused to grant special leave to appeal from a decision of the ACT Court of Appeal (ACTCA) in relation to the application of the six-year limitation period applying to claims for lost Commonwealth superannuation entitlements.

The law in the ACT (and generally throughout Australia) requires that any claim for negligent misstatement must be commenced in court within a six-year period from when the cause of action accrued (i.e. when there was a trigger of loss that completes the cause of action).

The ACTCA found that, in circumstances where an employee never becomes a member of Commonwealth superannuation, and is then made redundant from Commonwealth employment, the six-year limitation period begins to run from the time of redundancy, as the employee could have first accessed their hypothetical superannuation benefits at that time.

The practical effect of the ACTCA’s decision is that many former Commonwealth employees who have been made redundant, and potentially those who have left employment in other circumstances more than six years ago, will now be out of time to commence a claim.

The application of the limitation law to claims for lost Commonwealth superannuation entitlements is complex and must be considered in each claim individually. There is no provision for extending the limitation period.

If you believe you may have a claim and would like advice regarding whether you may be within time, please contact a member of our commonwealth superannuation team today.