The Law Commission of New Zealand is undertaking a first principles review of class actions and litigation funding. They are currently seeking feedback from interested parties, having released an issues paper in December 2020.  The New Zealand Law Society is planning to respond to the call, and is asking for views on the issue.

The review is part of ongoing efforts to improve the affordability and efficiency of litigation. Class actions allow claimants with common issues to group claims together, allowing for more efficient and cost-effective resolution,  litigation funding can improve access to justice by allowing a commercial body to cover legal costs in exchange for an agreed percentage of compensation awards.

The Commission says the crucial question is whether the potential benefits of class actions and litigation funding can be realised in a way that manages the risks and outweighs any disadvantages. The Issues Paper summarises the issues and explores some options for addressing them.

The Commission’s preliminary view is that Aotearoa New Zealand needs a statutory class actions regime, the key advantages of this are improved access to justice, promotion of efficiency in litigation, and improved incentives to comply with the law.

The New Zealand Law Society committees considering the Issues Paper welcome comments from the profession and these can be sent to lawreform@lawsociety.org.nz by 22 February 2021.

Read more about the Law Society Response here, or view the commission’s issues paper here.

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