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Criticism of litigation funding based on ‘misinformation’

Global litigation funder Omni Bridgeway has welcomed Attorney-General Christian Porter’s new parliamentary inquiry, but noted only some criticism of the industry is valid.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 18 May 2020 Big Law
Criticism of litigation funding
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Omni Bridgeway – which funds actions in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US – says it looks forward to participating in a “balanced debate” about how best to improve the class actions system in Australia as part of the parliamentary inquiry launched by A-G Porter.

Further, it welcomes the opportunity to speak to the “fundamental role” of the litigation funding industry in both protecting claimants’ rights and providing access to justice.


“Omni Bridgeway is a supporter of additional regulation that would improve the class action system, deliver better outcomes for all participants and prevent opportunistic and unnecessary litigation. This would include the introduction of a licensing regime for litigation funders and a legislated minimum level of returns for claimants in a class action,” it said in a statement.

However, it took the opportunity to respond to comments made about the role of litigation: “Omni Bridgeway notes recent criticism of the role of litigation funders. While some of the criticism of the industry may be valid, the company believes much of it is based on misinformation.”

That being said, the funder agreed with the Coalition and Labor in noting that the class action system must “deliver fair and equitable outcomes for all participants, particularly claimants. The company advocates, consistently with its submissions to previous inquiries, for a number of measures that it believes would enhance the integrity of, and improve confidence in, the class action system”.

The measures Omni Bridgeway supports include the introduction of “a six-month moratorium on new class actions that are associated with COVID-19-related disclosures; legislation to guarantee a minimum return to group members in a class action of no less than 50 per cent of the proceeds from the action; a licensing regime for litigation funders that would include minimum onshore capital adequacy requirements, disclosure obligations and reporting standards; and legislation to end the use of common fund orders and prevent the introduction of contingency fees for lawyers, as proposed by the Victorian government”.

Omni Bridgeway is currently involved in 14 Australian class actions, of which five are on behalf of shareholders.