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Civil Litigation Reform

Oral Answers to Questions — Justice – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 28th June 2011.

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Photo of Yvonne Fovargue Yvonne Fovargue Labour, Makerfield 2:30 pm, 28th June 2011

What assessment he has made of the potential effect on group action litigation against multinational corporations of his proposals for reform to civil litigation.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Government introduced the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill on 21 June. The Bill contains provisions to take forward a fundamental reform of no win, no fee conditional fee agreements, as recommended by Lord Justice Jackson. I believe that strong claims, including those against multinational corporations, could still be brought under conditional fee agreements, or CFAs. The Government are also proposing the use of damages-based agreements, or DBAs, in all civil litigation, which might be particularly suited to funding group action litigation.

Photo of Yvonne Fovargue Yvonne Fovargue Labour, Makerfield

An array of human rights experts, including several non-governmental organisations, human rights lawyers and the UN special representative on business and human rights, have all criticised the Government’s reforms of civil litigation. On what basis can the Minister assure the House that his proposals to reform civil litigation will not impact negatively on access to justice for victims of human rights abuse?

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

I have been in correspondence with many of the people whom the hon. Lady mentions, and I repeat that the Government believe that it will still be possible to bring claims against multinational companies once our reforms are implemented.