Dairy Farmers Class Actions


31 Independent Dairy Farmers

Year of Proceedings


Australegal acted for a large group of 31 former dairy farmers located all over the country in seeking compensation from Dairy Farmer Suppliers Co-operative. The claim was in connection with the takeover of Australian Co-operative Foods Limited (which traded as Dairy Farmers) by Kirin Holdings in 2008. Many former suppliers who had supplied milk to Dairy Farmers for many years and, in some cases, for generations had been denied a full share in the takeover sale proceeds.

We compiled a large claim detailing the history of each farmer and put it before the NSW Co-operatives Council. The goal was that they each be reinstated as members retrospectively, so that they could secure their share in the dividend being paid as a consequence of the takeover. Not surprisingly, the claim was strongly resisted by Dairy Farmers and they fought a relentless battle against us, using their not insignificant resources to try to weaken our resolve.

In the proceedings before the Co-operatives Council, the case was personally conducted and argued by Nigel Hill, who had to convince the Council members that our 31 former dairy farmers had been unreasonably dealt with and that they should be reinstated as members of Dairy Farmers. The Council accepted our arguments and our 31 farmer clients were successful.

Dairy Farmers however subsequently appealed against the Council decision to the Supreme Court of NSW. After a day of argument before the Supreme Court, the Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the Council’s original decision in our favour. Our class group received a sum in excess of $1.5 million.

Following the success of this group, we then commenced a similar action for another group of former Dairy Farmer suppliers and again, we succeeded in securing their rights. They also received a sum of close to $1 million.

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