20thDecember 2013


Test Case Dismissal a Devastating Result for Family says ALSWA
20 December 2013

Since the landmark WA Stolen Generations Test Case Hearing commenced in February 2013, it’s been a long and anxious wait for members of the Collard family, the Plaintiffs in this matter.

This morning, that wait was over, when The Hon. Justice Pritchard delivered her judgment and dismissed the case, in the Supreme Court of Western Australia, with members of the Collard family present to hear the outcome.

It’s been a long legal road for the Collard’s dating back to National Sorry Day (26 May) in 2010 when law firm Lavan Legal, lodged a Writ on behalf of nine members of the family, including parents Donald and Sylvia, whose children were removed without consent and placed in state care between 1958 and 1961.

Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) CEO Dennis Eggington said the Collard family had shown incredible courage and resilience in sharing their traumatic stories for this Test Case, for the benefit of all members of the Stolen Generations. “Their commitment has been un-waivering and the family are understandably devastated at today’s decision” said Mr. Eggington.

ALSWA and Lavan Legal, who acted on a pro bono basis, worked closely with the Collard family since proceedings began back in 2010. “This Test Case was more than a case for the Collard family alone. It was a Test Case for thousands of our people who were also stolen from their families and we knew that this case could have the capacity to rights the wrongs of the past” said Mr. Eggington.

ALSWA is extremely grateful to the Collard family for their strength and commitment to this matter. “What an incredible family. You cannot under-estimate how difficult this process was for family members but they persevered and can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they played such a significant role in this historical case” said Mr. Eggington.

“ALSWA also acknowledges the immeasurable support and work of the Lavan Legal team and former ALSWA Principal Legal Officer Greg McIntyre SC who represented the family throughout the Hearing. I would also like to thank our own staff at ALSWA, in particular our Civil/Human Rights Unit and lawyer Nikki Dwyer” said Mr. Eggington.

ALSWA, Lavan Legal and the Collard family will take some time to consider the decision and its contents.