King & Wood Mallesons

Asia-Pacific 100 position: 2

The end of law firm funding?

Maurice Blackburn has formally abandoned its novel attempt to have a related entity fund a class action in which it acts for the applicant.

Claims Funding Australia (CFA) was seeking approval from the Federal Court to co-fund an equine influenza class action against the Commonwealth government, which is being run by Maurice Blackburn. CFA was effectively established by the principals of Maurice Blackburn and operated for the benefit of those principals as trustee. There were real concerns that having CFA fund a class action in which Maurice Blackburn was acting created a backdoor to allow Maurice Blackburn to obtain contingency fees, which are otherwise prohibited; and gave rise to potential conflicts between Maurice Blackburn’s pecuniary interest, on the one hand, and its duty to clients, on the other.

On 29 January 2014, CFA discontinued its application in the Federal Court. Maurice Blackburn has explained the discontinuance as follows…

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