Litigation funding and the regulation of the class action industry
13 August 2020
On 29 July 2020, the Law Council appeared before the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services as part of its Inquiry into Litigation Funding and the Regulation of the Class Action Industry.
The Law Council was represented at the public hearing by President, Ms Pauline Wright, Chair of the Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Section, Mr John Emmerig, Member of the Corporations Committee of the Business Law Section, Mr Greg Golding and Senior Policy Lawyer, John Farrell, and thanks all contributors to this submission.
Key positions outlined by the Law Council’s representatives at the hearing included that the Law Council:
- considers that while Australian class actions are generally working well, there are opportunities to improve the system;
- opposes permitting lawyers to charge contingency fees as it is not persuaded that potential marginal gains in access to justice are outweighed by the risks to the ethical duties of lawyers and the potential effect that any compromise of these duties could have on the interests of class members;
- supports carefully calibrated regulation of litigation funding, in particular by authorising increased oversight by the courts and through the increased oversight of ASIC as part of the application of the Australian Financial Services Licensing Regime; and
- opposes any additional regulation of Australian legal practitioners.
The committee is due to report by 7 December 2020.