On 19 May, 2014 Company Directors lodged a submission with the Productivity Submission in response to its draft Report Access to Justice Arrangements.
Our comments were confined to the matters raised by Chapter 18 of the Draft Report which relate to litigation funding and class actions.
In summary our comments included:
- We continue to be concerned that the current regulatory regime supports litigation being initiated for the dominant purpose of profit-making by third parties that have no genuine interest in the issues being litigated;
- We have consistently stated that our preference is for litigation funders to be subject to a tailored licensing regime contained in the Corporations Act and enforceable by ASIC;
- We support recommendation 18.2 of the Draft Report which recommends that litigation funders be regulated by a licensing regime contained in the Corporations Act and enforceable by ASIC;
- We are concerned that the Productivity Commission is recommending the removal of the prohibition on lawyers charging contingency fees in Australia. We are concerned that allowing lawyers to charge contingency fees will undermine the well-respected integrity of the legal profession and the primary role of lawyers as officers of the court. The role of lawyers as officers of the court should be to quell, not promote, disputes. We recommend that the Productivity Commission re-consider recommendation 18.1 of the Draft Report.
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