New law to make justice more accessible for innocent people wronged by powerful companies

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Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Alex Chalk KC. Photo credit: Twitter

Ordinary people mistreated or wronged by big, powerful companies will have a better chance of bringing them to court to access justice, thanks to plans unveiled today (4 March 2024). 

The Lord Chancellor, Alex Chalk, will introduce a new law to make it easier for members of the public to secure the financial backing of third parties when launching complex claims against moneyed corporations with sizeable legal teams which they could otherwise ill-afford.

Today’s news will restore the position that existed before the Supreme Court’s ruling last year, which made many litigation funding agreements unenforceable. As a result, cases can continue being funded.  

The new legislation makes it easier for members of the public to secure funding for their legal fights against powerful corporations – such as those caught up in the Horizon scandal.

This move has been called for by people who have needed third-party litigation funding in the past, including former sub-postmaster Alan Bates, who described his case as a David vs Goliath. The post-masters’ claim was only possible due to the backing of a litigation funder.

Lord Chancellor, Alex Chalk, said:

It’s crucial victims can access justice – but it can feel like a David and Goliath battle when they’re facing powerful corporations with deep pockets.

This important change will mean more victims can secure vital third party funding to level the playing field and support their fight for justice.

The sub-postmasters were able to secure third party funding in their legal action against the Post Office. Now others will too.

The government is also considering options for a wider review of the sector and how third-party litigation funding is carried out. This could consider whether there is a need for increased regulation or safeguards for people bringing claims to court, particularly given the growth of the litigation funding sector over the past decade. Further details will be set out in due course.

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