MELBOURNE (VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA)
February 24, 2018
By Royce Millar, Chris Vedelago, and Ben Schneiders
The controversial legal tactic that prevents survivors of child sexual abuse from suing the Catholic church would be invalidated by sweeping legislative changes planned by the Andrews government.
The Age has obtained a confidential draft of a bill that addresses several outstanding recommendations from the state’s 2013 Betrayal of Trust inquiry. The bill is expected to be introduced into parliament this year.
If passed, the law will expose billions of dollars in assets of the Catholic church and other religious organisations to potential legal action for the first time in more than a decade.
It is designed to tackle the so-called “Ellis defence” established when the NSW Court of Appeal ruled in 2007 that the Catholic Church does not exist in a legal sense because its property assets are held inside a special trust structure that is immune to lawsuits.
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