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Aussie barrister takes Qantas to court over $5,800 flight credit: 'Had enough'

Gavin Silbert KC is taking legal action against Qantas on behalf of the 'little people' he says may not be in a position to do so.

Not many of us would dare instigate legal action against our national airline, but one man is doing just that after he "had enough" of Qantas ignoring his flight credits.

That man happens to be Gavin Silbert KC — a well-respected barrister, formerly the Victorian Crown prosecutor.

Left, Gavin Silbert KC can be seen wearing a blue shirt and grey blazer. Right, three Qantas places can be seen side by side.
Barrister Gavin Silbert KC is taking legal action against Qantas after he claims they continued to "ignore" his flight credit. Source: A Current Affair and 3AW

After his flight was cancelled in August 2021 due to the pandemic, he said he received $5823.15 in credit and was allegedly told he could use the money towards any air travel with Qantas until the end of this year. Despite his attempts to use the credit, he claims the airline have "completely and utterly ignored" it.

"So I'll do something that I've spent the whole of my professional life trying to dissuade people from," Mr Silbert said on radio station 3AW , discussing why he decided to pursue legal action.

"I would love to give this evidence in open court because it's absolutely disgraceful."

On what legal grounds is Mr Silbert taking Qantas to court?

Mr Silbert explained that his legal claim against Qantas would be that they owe him a "simple debt".

"Essentially it'll be a contractual claim. They acknowledged that they owed me the money, they gave me a credit... and they've simply ignored it."

He described the airline's customer service as "useless" and is mindful that many other Australians may find themselves in a similar situation without the means to challenge the issue.

"There are a lot of, as I say, 'little people' who have been caught up in this who have no recourse... I'd certainly like to do something for them," he said.

Mr Silbert says there is the potential for a class action to be launched against Qantas over unusable flight credits.

"They can't afford to take individual court action and I don't know how much money Qantas are holding that doesn't belong to them," he said. "But it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars I suspect. There's no one holding them to account."

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