You are all probably aware that from time to time people take issues with comments that are made on this forum. Indeed, sometimes legal action is threatened or taken against members because of statements they have made here. You may have seen this article in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Sometimes, we think that when this happens it is unfair, and a restriction on the right of Australians to engage in free speech. We know a lot of you think the same way because you've been contacting us and telling us so.
In fact, some of you have asked is there a way that you can donate money to a fund that can be used to help members pay lawyers' fees in these sorts of situations.
We have therefore set up a discretionary trust called The HotCopper Fighting Fund. If you want to donate money to it, please see below for the bank account details;
- Account Number:
- SWIFT Code:
- WPACAU2S (Note: for banks requiring an 11-character SWIFT code, use WPACAU2SXXX)
If paying by cheque please make payable to: The HotCopper Fighting Fund c/o PO Box Z5558, St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA, 6831.
A copy of the trust deed that establishes the fund can be seen here. You should read it, and get any professional advice you need before donating money to it.
In short (and this is obviously only a summary):
- Report Card Pty Ltd (which operates the HotCopper website) is the trustee of the trust, so money is paid to and held by it, though in a special bank account.
- However Report Card Pty Ltd does not hold the money for its own benefit – it holds the money on a discretionary trust for the Members of HotCopper.
- This does not mean that any member has an actual right to receive any money.
- The trustee, in its discretion, will decide if and when and to whom it will pay out any of the money.
- It can only pay money out if it is satisfied it will be used for the "purpose"– which is defined to be: "assisting members of the HotCopper website (or any website that is effectively its successor) to pay legal fees arising in relation to legal claims made against any of them as a result of comments they have made on the website".
- It is envisaged that usually payments will be made directly to a Member's lawyer.
- Even Members who are engaged in legal claims of this nature do not have a right to receive financial assistance out of the fund – the trustee will determine if the claim is worth supporting. Even if financial assistance is provided, there is no guarantee that all costs will be covered.
- Report Card Pty Ltd will never apply the money for its own purposes (administration costs of the trust excluded), or for any purpose other than as stated above.
- The fund runs for 10 years, after which it comes to an end – any residual money will be given to a charity.
- Once you have contributed the money to the fund, you are not entitled to have it repaid to you. Even if you are subject to a legal action of the type referred to above you have no entitlement to assistance – it is completely at the trustee's discretion.
- Report Card Pty Ltd will not provide you with a receipt for your donation and is not a registered charity (hence the donation is not tax-deductable).