Litigation is expensive. The high cost and inherent uncertainty associated with civil litigation creates a daunting financial barrier for those seeking justice for even meritorious claims. This has led many litigants to engage wealthy third parties to finance their claim. Professionals in the construction sector are sure to find themselves as a defendant facing off against a plaintiff backed by a litigation funder with increasing frequency – be it in the capacity of a contractor, engineer, or even an insurer in the context of professional indemnity cover. It is no longer a novel or even a rare phenomenon; it a mainstay in both international and domestic dispute resolution. The question, therefore, is not whether litigation funding should be permitted but how it should be regulated.
This essay discusses they ways in which third party litigation funding might be regulated in New Zealand, drawing lessons from contemporary regulation in other jurisdictions.
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