Project

Towards sustainable cost and funding mechanisms for civil litigation in Europe

Goal: At the heart of effective access to civil justice lies litigation funding and cost management. Access to civil justice has been under pressure due to retrenching governments, high costs, and procedural inefficiency. This project will assess new pathways to civil justice funding and cost schemes, with a view to developing a balanced financing system, thereby securing access to justice in Europe. Combining legal-normative, comparative law, and empirical research, the project will (1) analyse the development of private funding and cost mechanisms in selected European jurisdictions (where three key jurisdictions are the United Kingdom (England and Wales), Germany and the Netherlands, while Scandinavian countries are also of interest); (2) scrutinise these against the background of securing access to justice as a fundamental right; and (3) devise a framework for funding and cost rules, contributing to a sustainable European civil justice system.

Date: 1 December 2020

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Project log

Eduardo Silva de Freitas
added a research item
The right to a fair trial under Article 6 ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) provides one of the procedural guarantees of access to justice. One of the elements on which access to justice under Article 6 ECHR depends is party resources. The concern for equality of arms is that both parties should be able to effectively argue their case before a court, not being impeded by a lack of resources that undermines the tools of their pleading. Such an equality is subject to case-specific analysis. The Lawrence ruling is a ruling on the compatibility of the regime of recoverability of conditional fee agreement (CFA) additional liabilities under the Access to Justice Act 1999 with Article 6 ECHR. The majority in the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) ruled, under a proportionality test, that there was no infringement of Article 6 ECHR because the introduction of the recoverability of CFA additional liabilities was a necessary measure for England to adopt in the pursuit of access to justice under its margin of appreciation. In this article, I will argue that a more holistic view of the procedural guarantees provided for by Article 6 ECHR is called for to properly assess its infringement, considering mainly the principle of equality of arms. The aim of this article is, therefore, to investigate how the principle of equality of arms should have informed the UKSC’s decision in Lawrence.
Carlota Ucin
added a research item
Propongo en el presente algunas reflexiones acerca de la tutela judicial efectiva de los derechos colectivos en los procesos de reforma estructural. A partir del análisis de una reciente resolución dictada en un proceso en el que se cuestionaban las condiciones de detención en Argentina, se revisa la gravitación de la noción de eficacia procesal para la determinación de la duración de la etapa de ejecución de la sentencia en este tipo de procesos. Palabras clave: litigio de reforma estructural-cárceles-ejecución de sentencia-eficacia procesal Abstract: In this paper, I reflect on the effective judicial protection of collective rights in the context of structural reform cases. Based on the review of a case related to the imprisonment conditions in Argentina, I argue about the gravitation of the concept of procedural efficacy in the determination of the duration of the executive stage in a structural reform procedure.
Carlota Ucin
added a research item
RESUMEN: Los litigios que procuran la vigencia de los derechos sociales pueden hallar dificul-tades para probar los hechos que los sustentan. Esto se puede explicar, entre otras razones, por la indeterminación de los enunciados normativos y por la asimetría en el acceso a la información pública. Como aquí se analizará, el recurso a las presunciones puede allanar las dificultades probatorias, con un claro beneficio sobre el acceso a la justicia para este tipo de causas. ABSTRACT: Claims that seek to enforce social rights may find it difficult to prove the facts that support them. This can be explained by the indeterminacy of the normative statements and by the asymmetry in access to public information. As I argue here, presumptions can alleviate evidentiary difficulties, with a clear benefit on access to justice for this type of case.
Carlota Ucin
added a research item
Recientemente, el tribunal de primera instancia del distrito de La Haya resolvió condenar a la compañía Royal Dutch Shell (RDS, en adelante también Shell), con sede en los Países Bajos, a reducir sus emisiones futuras de C02 para ajustarlas a los compromisos internacionales de mitigación del cambio climático. La sentencia-que aun no se encuentra firme-dispuso que Royal Dutch Shell debía limitar el volumen anual de emisiones de CO2 hacia la atmósfera, fuera que las mismas resultaran de sus operaciones empresariales o de la energía vendida a través de sus productos con destino al consumo de tales combustibles. La condena estipuló una reducción neta de al menos un 45% de las emisiones para el año 2030 tomando como referencia los valores del año 2019.
Carlota Ucin
added a research item
Recientemente la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación ha dictado un nuevo pronunciamiento en la causa Verbitsky. El decisorio, al que referiré como Verbitsky II, se expide sobre algunos temas relevantes que he de destacar y analizar aquí. Estos puntos son: la efectividad de la tutela judicial de las personas privadas de su libertad, la noción de eficacia procesal y la eficiencia del proceso en general y del habeas corpus en particular. La riqueza del caso me permite apoyarme en él para ejemplificar algunas particularidades de los litigios que, planteados en clave de Interés Público, persiguen la reforma de un estado de cosas estructural que se considera inconstitucional o lesivo de derechos reconocidos en convenciones internacionales de igual jerarquía.
Xandra E. Kramer
added a research item
The development of collective redress in practice depends on the availability of adequate funding. In recent years third-party funding by entrepreneurial parties has become an important source of financing collective actions and settlements. Both at the EU level and in most of the Member States third-party litigation funding and related forms of entrepreneurial lawyering have generally been viewed with suspicion, though the new Representative Actions Directive (RAD) does enable third-party funding under certain conditions. The Netherlands is perhaps the Member State best known for its collective redress mechanisms, and the role of third-party funding has been important for its development. This paper discusses the financing of collective redress from a European and Dutch perspective. It assesses in how far EU law, and in particular the RAD, enables the third-party funding and how this has developed in the Netherlands. It concludes that the reluctance in Europe towards third-party funding is still visible, but the RAD and recent developments in the EU acknowledge its importance. As to the Netherlands, considering some restrictions in the latest legislative addition enabling collective action damage claims, it remains to be seen what role Dutch collective redress and developing funding mechanisms will play in Europe and beyond.
Eduardo Silva de Freitas
added a project goal
At the heart of effective access to civil justice lies litigation funding and cost management. Access to civil justice has been under pressure due to retrenching governments, high costs, and procedural inefficiency. This project will assess new pathways to civil justice funding and cost schemes, with a view to developing a balanced financing system, thereby securing access to justice in Europe. Combining legal-normative, comparative law, and empirical research, the project will (1) analyse the development of private funding and cost mechanisms in selected European jurisdictions (where three key jurisdictions are the United Kingdom (England and Wales), Germany and the Netherlands, while Scandinavian countries are also of interest); (2) scrutinise these against the background of securing access to justice as a fundamental right; and (3) devise a framework for funding and cost rules, contributing to a sustainable European civil justice system.