BCLI Starting New Project on Litigation Financing

11 September 2015

By Elizabeth Pinsent

The number of self-represented litigants in British Columbia’s courts has been steadily increasing. In her 2013 report, University of Windsor Faculty of Law professor Dr. Julie Macfarlane wrote that the inability to afford legal counsel is the most consistently-cited reason for self-representation and a lack of access to justice.

In response, the British Columbia Law Institute is starting a new project on litigation financing to explore the public, private, and third-party funding opportunities used in British Columbia, Canada, and in other commonwealth jurisdictions. The project will explore the potential opportunities for structural, systemic, or legal changes that could improve the financing options for litigants.

“There is a need to identify structural and legal changes necessary to facilitate the greater participation of low-income individuals in court processes,” said Kathleen Cunningham, Executive Director of the BCLI. “By exploring a selection of options for litigation financing and evaluating their utility and potential for implementation, this research will provide an important first step towards improving access to justice in British Columbia.”

The final Study Paper is expected to be available at www.bcli.org in January 2017.

This project has been made possible thanks to generous funding from the Law Foundation of British Columbia.

The British Columbia Law Institute strives to be a leader in law reform by carrying out the best in scholarly law-reform research and writing and the best in outreach relating to law reform.

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