Woodsford’s response to the New Zealand’s Law Commission Project on Class Actions and Funding

On Wednesday 10th March, Woodsford delivered a considered response to the Aotearoa New Zealand’s Law Commission / Te Aka Matua o te Ture Project on Class Actions and Litigation Funding

Woodsford agrees with the preliminary view of the Law Commission / Te Aka Matua o te Ture that litigation funding is desirable in principle and should be permitted in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Woodsford hereafter makes submissions to address concerns outlined in IP45 as follows:

  • Funder control over litigation
  • The potential for conflicts of interest
  • Funder profits
  • Capital adequacy of litigation funders
  • Regulation and oversight of litigation funding
  • Funder control over litigation

Under the ALF Code of Conduct, funders are prevented from taking control of litigation or settlement negotiations and from causing the litigant’s lawyers to act in breach of their professional duties. This is in line with the practice and public policy, in England & Wales, of keeping the roles of funders, litigants and their lawyers separate. Because of their interest in the litigation, funders may however ask to be kept informed of the progress of the case. Some funders, like Woodsford, may have considerable in-house litigation experience that can benefit the litigant and its legal team.

Similarly, the ILFA Best Practices stipulate that ILFA members should not interfere with the performance of lawyers’ duties to the courts and to their clients, and that members should respect the proper administration of justice.

In our experience, the role of the litigation funder is not to control, but rather actively monitor the litigation to ensure that it is being effectively run in such a way as to benefit all claimant- side stakeholders. In addition, Woodsford is staffed by a number of sophisticated lawyers with extensive experience in class action litigation. As such, Woodsford is well-equipped to provide a ‘sounding board’ for lawyers and claimants in relation to the strategic decisions proposed to be made in the litigation.

You can read Woodsford’s response here.