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The Productivity Commission has been inquiring into Australia’s civil justice system, with a focus on developing proposals for constraining costs and promoting access to justice and equality before the law. The Commission has published its draft report and called for further submissions and public consultation. Bentham IMF Limited (IMF) made submissions to the Commission. We understand that a final report has been provided to the government this month with the government to determine any subsequent release of the report to the public.
The Commission looked at the private funding of litigation in Australia. In its draft report the Commission proposed two key recommendations in this area:
IMF welcomes the Commission’s draft recommendation that funders be licensed - a position we have long advocated. However, we also consider it important that if contingency fee billing is to be introduced to Australia, lawyers using such arrangements must be liable to pay any adverse costs orders which might be made if their clients’ litigation is unsuccessful.
The regulation of litigation funding is also front of mind for the Federal Attorney General who announced in May 2014 that he intended to convene an advisory panel to examine conflicts of interest and the role of plaintiff lawyers and litigation funders in class actions.
 See IMF's ‘Submission to the Productivity Commission: Access to Justice Arrangements’, 18 November 2013 https://www.imf.com.au/docs/default-source/site-documents/bentham-imf-limited's-submission-to-the-productivity-commission-inquiry-into-access-to-justice-arrangements and ‘Response to Draft Report of the Productivity Commission: Access to Justice Arrangements’, 26 May 2014:https://www.imf.com.au/docs/default-source/site-documents/bentham-imf-limiteds-response-to-productivity-commissions-draft-report.