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Category: Australia

Proposed Class Action Reforms in Australia Cause Funders and Lawyers to Race to File Cases

The Australian Senate is currently considering legislation that would rein in third party litigation funding in class action lawsuits, causing plaintiffs’ lawyers and litigation funders to work overtime to get new cases into court before the bill becomes law. As a result, at least nine class actions were filed in the last month, according to a report on Lawyerly.com. That’s a sharp increase from the 18 class actions filed between March and September of this year. The Corporations Amendment Act (CAA) is the bill causing the mad rush to the courthouse. The CAA would rein in third party litigation funding in class actions in a few different ways. First, it would restrict fees for class action lawyers and funders to a maximum of 30 percent of any total payout, give courts the power to approve and adjust funding agreements and require funders to be licensed. The proposal would also require each plaintiff to consent to participate in the class action and abide by the funder’s terms, creating an opt-in system for funded class actions. This is not the first time that plaintiffs’ lawyers in Australia made a mad dash to file cases before new class-action legislation passed. There was a similar jump in filings shortly before other litigation funding regulations took effect in August 2020–so much so that around 15 percent of all filings in 2020 occurred in the two days before the implementation of the regulations, according to Monash Business School Professor Vince Morabito. The bill passed the House just six days after the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Corporations and Financial Services approved it. The legislation is now up for debate in the Senate.

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Australian Class Action Lawyers Face Criminal Investigation Over “Grossly Unethical Behaviour”

A group of class action lawyers in Australia “are facing a criminal investigation and a damages bill of more than $11.7 million for ‘dishonourable’ and ‘fraudulent’” conduct, reports the Australian Financial Times. The lawyers and litigation funder involved attempted “to claim more than $19 million in legal and funding fees from a group of elderly investors in the Banksia class action.”

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Game Is Up For Litigation Funders

Last week, the Australian Financial Review featured an op-ed written by Stuart Clark, an adjunct professor at Macquarie Law School and former president of the Law Council of Australia, that highlights the need for reforming Australia’s litigation funding industry.

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Australian Government Says Greater Oversight of Litigation Funding Industry Needed

The Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services released a report this week calling for more stringent oversight of the country’s “highly unique” litigation funding industry. The report is a watershed moment for civil justice in Australia, the birthplace of third party litigation funding (TPLF), and for the litigation funding industry in general, as the use of TPLF is increasing worldwide.

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