BCLI Publishes a Study Paper on Financing Litigation

4 October 2017

By Valerie Le Blanc

The Study Paper on Financing Litigation (PDF), published today, examines the traditional and alternative methods litigants use to pay for litigation. The cost of litigation is a significant barrier to accessing the justice system. While some disputes can be resolved outside the courtroom, litigation is often the only means to achieve an equitable result. However, a litigant’s ability to pay for the legal fees and expenses that come with litigation may become a concern before, or during, the process. Taking a legal dispute to trial is expensive. Many litigants lack the financial resources to take on the risk of an unsuccessful case.

The study paper reviews six financing models that have emerged both in Canada and internationally:

  • Unbundled legal services;
  • Third-party litigation funding;
  • Alternative fee arrangements;
  • Crowdfunding;
  • Legal expense insurance; and
  • Publicly funded litigation funds.

The study paper also identifies 18 opportunities and ideas to consider for structural, systemic or legal change to enhance the use of each financing option in British Columbia. It concludes with a chapter that briefly discusses five alternative ideas that could mitigate the rising cost of legal services and improve access to justice generally.


“The research and consultations show that many litigants in British Columbia, and across Canada, are struggling to manage the cost of litigation. This study sheds light on the opportunities that exist for litigants to ensure they can have meaningful and affordable access to the justice system, and we hope it will be a valuable resource for the judiciary, legal profession and the community as a whole.”—BCLI Chair Lisa A. Peters, QC.

Next Steps

BCLI will publish a series of blog posts to feature highlights from each of the six financing models reviewed in the study paper. Each post will also include a list of recent developments in British Columbia on each financing option. BCLI will also prepare six, two-page documents that outline the highlights and list of resources for all six financing models, which can be downloaded from the project page.


  • Financing Litigation Legal Research Project page
  • Study Paper on Financing Litigation (PDF)
  • Financing Litigation Legal Research Project Backgrounder No. 2 (PDF)
  • Media Release No. 2—BCLI Publishes Study Paper on Financing Litigation (PDF)

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