In 2020 the Australian Government conducted a Parliamentary inquiry into the class actions regime and the role of dispute financiers in the Australian landscape. Omni Bridgeway has long supported reform of the Australian class action regime and the regulation of dispute financiers and lodged submissions to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services (PJC) which was established to consider regulatory reform. In 2021 Omni Bridgeway also lodged submissions to the New Zealand Law Commission for its review into class actions and litigation funding.
Following the change in the Australian Government in 2022, the new Government unwound some of the regulatory changes implemented by the previous Government. As a result, funded class actions in Australia are now exempt from the managed investment scheme (MIS) regime, and litigation funders are exempt from holding an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and other financial services regulatory requirements.
On 21 December 2020, the PJC released its report – Litigation funding and the regulation of the class action industry.
Following the December 2020 PJC report, Omni Bridgeway commissioned work by PwC to consider the pricing of litigation funding services using an economic analysis framework:
In June 2021, the Treasurer and the Attorney-General published a joint consultation in response to Recommendation 20 of the PJC’s report: Guaranteeing a minimum return of class action proceeds to class members.
On 30 September 2021, Treasury published exposure draft legislation responding to a number of recommendations made by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in its report on litigation funding and the regulation of the class action industry and sought stakeholder views on the draft https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2021-211417.
On 27 October 2021, the Corporations Amendment (Improving Outcomes for Litigation Funding Participants) Bill 2021 was tabled in Parliament and referred to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services.
On 2 September 2022, Treasury published draft regulations which propose changes to the regulation of litigation funding schemes under the Corporations Act 2001. The proposed changes include reinstating exemptions from the Australian Financial Services Licence and Managed Investment Scheme regimes for litigation funders.
As Australia’s leading dispute financier, we have advocated for appropriate industry regulation and governance in Australia. Our submissions to previous industry Inquiries in Australia are available here.
Omni Bridgeway has extensive relationships across the finance, legal and adjacent industries. We work with leading law firms, academics, arbitrators, mediators, market analysts, economists and other experts throughout the world. Here we share links to Australian class actions commentary from a selection of leading organisations and individuals, in addition to Court decisions and our class actions blogs and videos.
As Australia’s leading dispute financier, we have advocated for appropriate industry regulation and governance in Australia. Our submissions to previous industry reviews and Inquiries in Australia, along with a selection of publications and podcasts
on class actions, are available here.