Oxford Findings on Civil Litigation To Be Implemented By UK Government

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The findings of an Oxford study into litigation funding and costs published by the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) will be implemented by the UK Government in proposals to reform the funding of civil cases announced by the Ministry of Justice yesterday. The government’s plans come in response to recommendations by Lord Justice Jackson, whose costs review was informed by research undertaken at Oxford University into civil litigation in thirty-five countries, and published in an FLJS policy brief in September.

Findings of a Major Comparative Study on Litigation and Funding Costs

This work will make a valuable contribution to the debate which lies ahead about how the costs and funding rules of England and Wales should be reformed in order to promote access to justice. Lord Justice Jackson, Royal Courts of Justice

The findings of an Oxford study into litigation funding and costs published by the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) will be implemented by the UK Government in proposals to reform the funding of civil cases announced by the Ministry of Justice yesterday. The government’s plans come in response to recommendations by Lord Justice Jackson, whose Review of litigation costs and funding was informed by research undertaken at Oxford University into civil litigation in thirty-five countries, and published in an FLJS policy brief in September.

The proposals focus on reform of conditional fee agreements (CFAs) to ensure that defendants’ costs are proportionate with the claim, and to reduce the cost to the tax payer of funding civil cases. Under the new proposals, legal fees will be recovered from damages awarded to the successful claimant rather than from the losing party. This follows the American ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement which allows greater access to justice by enabling claimants who would otherwise not be able to afford the cost of litigation to bring a case.

The Oxford study is part of the EU Civil Justice Project, which is a new pan-European academic initiative to research dispute resolution issues, whether using courts or alternative procedures and techniques, and build up an evidence-basis to support policy decisions on best practice in dispute resolution for the twenty-first century.

The researchers are undertaking a further study on litigation funding, with initial results indicating that independent funding gives rise to fewer conflicts of interest than lawyer funding. The findings of this study will also be published by FLJS in 2011.

The policy brief represents the first publication in the Foundation for Law, Justice and Society’s new European Civil Justice Systems programme. The programme aims to investigate all options for dispute resolution in a European state, analysing the principles and procedures that should, or do apply, evaluating effectiveness and outcomes, and proposing new frameworks and solutions.

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Findings of a Major Comparative Study on Litigation and Funding Costs
Christopher Hodges and Stefan Vogenauer

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Notes for editors

Hodges, C. and Vogenauer, V. (2010) ‘Findings of a Major Comparative Study on Litigation Funding and Costs’, FLJS Policy Brief. Oxford: Foundation for Law, Justice and Society. Available at: .

  •     The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society is an independent institution affiliated with the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford. Founded in 2005, the mission of the Foundation is to study, reflect on, and promote an understanding of the role that law plays in society.
  •     The Foundation draws on the work of scholars and researchers, and aims to make its work easily accessible to professionals in government, business, or the law.

http://www.fljs.org

  •     The European Civil Justice Systems programme aims to evaluate all options for dispute resolution in a European state, and to propose new frameworks and solutions. It encompasses a comparative examination of procedural, funding, and other mechanisms within civil justice systems, including alternative dispute resolution systems.

It aims to analyse the principles and procedures that should, or do apply, and to evaluate effectiveness and outcomes. The programme also involves research into substantive EU liability law, notably consumer and product liability law, harmonization of laws in the European Union, and in particular the changes taking place in the new Member States of central and Eastern Europe.

  •     A book by Hart publishing was published in November 2010, in which the details of the study and its findings will be presented in full.
  •     For more information, please contact Phil Dines, Communications Manager:

+44 (0)7809 219 543 (mobile); +44 (0)1865 284433 (day)
phil(dot)dines(at)fljs(dot)org

About the authors

Christopher Hodges is Head of the CMS Research Programme on Civil Justice Systems at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Oxford. He has worked for 28 years in major City of London law firms, latterly as a partner in CMS Cameron McKenna. He is a member of the European Commission’s Expert Working Group on the Product Liability Directive, and is on the Academic Advisory Panel of the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on consumer law. He is coordinator of the pan-EU Civil Justice Systems Project, which comprises scholars throughout the EU, and co-coordinator of the Global Class Actions Project.

Dr Chris Hodges is available for interview.

Stefan Vogenauer is Professor of Comparative Law at the University of Oxford, Director of the Oxford Institute of European and Comparative Law, and Fellow of Brasenose College. His previous appointments include Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg, the Bucerius Law School and the Regensburg Law Faculty. In 2002, he was awarded the Max Weber Prize of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society, as well as the 2008 Prize of the German Legal History Conference.

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