Omni Bridgeway is pleased to be the first company in Australia to be granted a litigation funding Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL). The AFSL means we are able to fund Australian class actions in compliance with the new regulations that came into force last month.
In Australia, shareholder class actions are one mechanism that can be deployed when other safeguards have failed to protect shareholder rights, enhance long-term value and change behaviour for the better.
To improve confidence and fairness in the Australian class action system, Omni Bridgeway has recommended the introduction of a minimum return to group members of no less than 50 per cent of the proceeds from a successful action. We believe this would strike the right balance.
Omni Bridgeway supports the introduction of a licensing regime for litigation funders operating in Australia that includes minimum onshore capital adequacy requirements. This would increase confidence in the Australian class actions system and benefit all parties – class members, defendants and the courts.
The role of litigation funders in the Australian class action system is currently under assault from a number of vocal pro-business advocates. Their motive is clear: remove the funders and you remove class actions against large companies.
Pro-business advocates have used ‘circularity’ arguments in their attempts to discredit shareholder class actions in Australia and prevent investors from seeking justice. In our latest blog we examine these arguments and the many significant benefits of these actions for shareholders and more broadly for Australia’s financial markets.
Watch Omni Bridgeway’s Gavin Beardsell in this interview with Amanda Farmer, founder of Your Strata Property, discussing two Australian class actions Omni Bridgeway is funding against manufacturers of combustible cladding products, as well as a potential combustible cladding class action in New Zealand.
Litigation funding not only provides access to justice for claimants in Australian class actions but provides protection to defendants who know their costs will be paid in the event the action is unsuccessful. Funded class actions also have a number of other benefits.
The Murray Goulburn class action, taken on behalf of aggrieved unit holders in the dairy business and which settled late last year, has been cited repeatedly in the current Australian Parliamentary inquiry into class actions and litigation funding. To some, the returns generated by Omni Bridgeway, which funded the successful action, were too high. To others – including the one person in the best position to judge – they were reasonable. This article explains a number of critical factors that need to be considered.
No company wants to face a class action from its own shareholders. They are disruptive, time-consuming, reputation-shredding and expensive – potentially very expensive. Fortunately, there is a proven way to avoid class actions: don’t break the law.
Andrew Saker, CEO of Omni Bridgeway, welcomed the opportunity to appear before the Australian Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services on 13 July 2020. The Joint Committee is inquiring into litigation funding and the regulation of the class action industry.
Omni Bridgeway has welcomed the Parliamentary inquiry into litigation funding and class actions that is currently underway in Australia. It provides an opportunity to improve the Australian class action system. However, opponents of litigation funding and class actions are using the inquiry to spread misinformation, in particular about returns generated by funders on successful actions. We set out some facts.
The Parliamentary inquiry into litigation funding and class actions announced earlier this year seeks to ensure fair and equitable outcomes for claimants and group members. As a pioneer of the industry and largest funder in Australia, Omni Bridgeway fully supports these aims. Part of our business is to provide finance and access to justice to claimants and group members in class actions who lack the resources to pursue complex and costly disputes.
Dispute finance plays a valuable role in the community providing access to justice for those without the means to pursue complex and costly disputes. Omni Bridgeway Limited provides non-recourse finance and strategic know-how to claimants and group members in class actions, that enables them to seek redress without risk in the event of an unsuccessful outcome.
Global disputes funder Omni Bridgeway Limited welcomed the Supreme Court of New South Wales judgment in November 2019 in the Brisbane floods class action. The court found that the claim for negligence, brought by the class representative, against each of the State of Queensland, Queensland Bulk Water Supply Authority trading as Seqwater and Sunwater Limited, was proven.
Omni Bridgeway Limited welcomes the proposal outlined by the Federal Government today to require all litigation funders operating in Australia to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) and to conduct class actions in compliance with the managed investment scheme (MIS) regime.
The High Court of Australia has handed down its judgment(1) on common fund orders in the most significant ruling relating to litigation funding since the Fostif case(2). A majority of the High Court held that neither the Federal Court of Australia nor the Supreme Court of New South Wales have the power to make a ‘common fund order’ (CFO), at least not in the early stages of litigation.
Key issues in class action litigation were debated at an important conference presented under the auspices of the IMF Bentham Class Actions Research Initiative with UNSW Law. Watch the videos from the event.