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The Cornwell Case – Super rights made clear

21 Apr 2015

Topics

  • Commonwealth Superannuation
  • Employment Law

In 2007, after litigation, Snedden Hall & Gallop was successful in an important and acclaimed case that came before the High Court in the matter of Cornwell v. Commonwealth of Australia.

The firm acted for Mr John Cornwell, a former Commonwealth Government employee who had been told that he was ineligible to join the Commonwealth superannuation fund because he was a blue-collar worker. As a result, Mr Cornwell did not join the fund for many years.

Snedden Hall & Gallop brought a claim for damages for Mr Cornwell against the Commonwealth Government. The government defended the claim and after Mr Cornwell was successful in the ACT Supreme Court, the government appealed in the High Court, where Mr Cornwell was again successful.

Since then, Snedden Hall & Gallop has been assisting other former, and current, employees with similar matters. Most of those affected were also blue-collar workers who worked in areas such as forestry, transport, and parks and gardens. Further claims were conducted in the ACT Supreme Court successfully, reinforcing the Cornwell precedent.

The Commonwealth Government has also agreed to deal with some other matters through mediation, and it is hoped that a similar approach will be taken with many of the future claims.

Recently the Commonwealth Government agreed to deal with other matters through mediation (which satisfactorily resolved some of the associations ’ claims), and it is hoped that a similar approach will be taken with many of the future claims.

One of the major issues in each of the claims is the limitation period, making it essential for anyone considering a claim to seek legal advice early.

How can Snedden Hall & Gallop help you?

The Cornwell case was the test case setting the precedent for superannuation claims where government employees were denied entry into government superannuation. Snedden Hall & Gallop has helped many clients obtain compensation for periods of lost membership of Commonwealth superannuation. We remain the only law firm in Australia to successfully obtain court judgments in claims of this type against the Commonwealth.

Please contact the Superannuation team at Snedden Hall & Gallop today by email or on (02) 6285 8000.


Original blog post 21/04/15, updated 01/06/17.