Federal Court of Australia
Federal Court of Australia fedcourt.gov.au

Coffs Legal Aid fronts Federal Court

COFFS Harbour Legal Aid will be fighting in Federal Court tomorrow in a final effort to compensate the customers of Solar and Bamboo Direct, which was liquidated in 2011.

The court has been told the company left 359 customers across the Mid North Coast out of pocket by more than $900,000 after their solar hot water systems were found to be non-compliant with Australian standards.

As part of the purchase contract, the customers were to receive Renewable Energy Certificates which enabled them to claim a government rebate.

Legal Aid lawyer Tim Jones said the team was arguing certificates were held on trust by the company for the client, differentiating them from a creditor.

"The difference that it makes is it was the clients' money the whole time and so it doesn't become part of the company assets and the clients would get their money back irrespective of how many other debtors there are against the company," Mr Jones said.

"It means they're not just a creditor lining up with everyone else trying to get money out that's owed to them for debt, they're people who are saying 'no you've got our money, give it back to us'."

A win at Thursday's Federal Court hearing will increase the likelihood of all 359 customers being compensated.

"If we win for our one client it's likely all 359 people are likely to win, the same legal principal should apply to everyone," Mr Jones said.

Legal Aid hopes a decision will be made early next year.

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