Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Australian Law Reform Commission Report on Class Action Proceedings and Third-Party Litigation Funders

The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) recently published its report Integrity, Fairness and Efficiency—An Inquiry into Class Action Proceedings and Third-Party Litigation Funders.

Among other things, the report examines to what extent class action proceedings and third-party litigation funders should be subject to national regulation, and whether there is adequate regulation of conflicts of interest between third-party litigation funders, lawyers and class members.

According to the Commission's media release of January 25, 2019:
"The ALRC conducted over 60 consultations with stakeholders and received over 75 submissions to advance Report 134 and its 24 recommendations for reform. The recommendations aim to promote fairness and efficiency in class action proceedings; protect litigants from disproportionate costs; and assure the integrity of the civil justice system, and include recommendations to:
  • provide mechanisms in statute and legal frameworks for the Federal Court to deal effectively with competing class actions;
  • provide mechanisms by which the Federal Court can appoint an independent costs referee to establish the reasonableness of legal costs in class action matters, and by which the Court can tender for settlement administration services;
  • increase transparency and open justice for class action settlements;
  • decrease the risk of ligation funders’ failing to meet their obligations or exercising improper influence through a statutory presumption in favour of securities for cost, and greater Court oversight of funding agreements which must indemnify the lead plaintiff against an adverse costs order;
  • enhance access to justice and decrease costs to litigants through the introduction of a limited percentage-based fee model for solicitors; and
  • introduce a voluntary accreditation scheme for solicitors acting in class action proceedings."
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:53 pm

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