Litigation funding – where a third party accepts liability for some or all costs associated with a dispute, usually in exchange for a share of any proceeds if successful – is on the rise in jurisdictions worldwide.
Often seen as offering access to justice for clients who have meritorious claims but lack the financial capacity to pay for legal proceedings, litigation funding has potential to even imbalances of power between parties to a dispute.
"Access to justice is repeatedly identified as a critical issue for the profession," says Liesle Theron, a litigation partner at Meredith Connell who has experience in large scale litigation, including group actions, and has been following developments in litigation funding.
"I see group litigation and litigation funding, separately and in combination, as powerful tools that can provide part of the solution," she says.
A quick online search reveals seven companies offering litigation funding (financing) services in New Zealand.
- Litigation Funding
- Litigation Lending Services (NZ) Limited
- LPF Group Limited
- Tempest Litigation Funders
- Harbour Litigation Investment Fund (UK)
- IMF Bentham Limited (Australia)
- Quantum Funding (Australia)
A more detailed look at litigation funding, funders and the law surrounding the developing practice will feature in a future edition of LawTalk.
Any practitioners or litigation funders are encouraged to contribute to the LawTalk article by making contact with NZLS writer firstname.lastname@example.org.