ALRC Inquiry into Class Action Proceedings: Final Report

On January 24 2019, the Attorney-General for Australia tabled in Parliament the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report, Integrity, Fairness and Efficiency—An Inquiry into Class Action Proceedings and Third-Party Litigation Funders.

The recommendations aim to promote fairness and efficiency in class action proceedings; protect litigants from disproportionate costs; and assure the integrity of the civil justice system, and include recommendations to:

  • provide mechanisms in statute and legal frameworks for the Federal Court to deal effectively with competing class actions;
  • provide mechanisms by which the Federal Court can appoint an independent costs referee to establish the reasonableness of legal costs in class action matters, and by which the Court can tender for settlement administration services;
  • increase transparency and open justice for class action settlements;
  • decrease the risk of ligation funders’ failing to meet their obligations or exercising improper influence through a statutory presumption in favour of securities for cost, and greater Court oversight of funding agreements which must indemnify the lead plaintiff against an adverse costs order;
  • enhance access to justice and decrease costs to litigants through the introduction of a limited percentage-based fee model for solicitors; and
  • introduce a voluntary accreditation scheme for solicitors acting in class action proceedings.