List G Barristers members, Peter Jopling QC and Dion Fahey have recently been appointed as amici curiae in an application by a litigation funder to partly finance a class action in the Federal Court.
Under the proposed arrangement, the litigation funder would receive a percentage of the damages paid to the class members. The solicitors acting for the class members have a financial interest in the funder.
The application raises issues regarding abuse of process, public policy and the jurisdiction and power of the court to approve a funding arrangement in circumstances where conflicts may arise between the solicitors, funder and class members, and in circumstances where law practices are prevented from charging contingency fees in their costs agreements.
The parties to the class action, and the Attorneys-General of the Commonwealth, States and Territories in response to section 78B notices, have indicated that they do not wish to be heard on the matter at this point of time.
Allsop CJ appointed amici curiae to assist the Court and act as a contradictor. The matter returns for a directions hearing later this month and it is presently undecided as to whether the application will be heard by a single judge or the Full Court.