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Multinationals will profit from the government's civil litigation shakeup [UK]

The government's proposed changes to the civil litigation costs regime, which will severely restrict access to justice for many vulnerable individuals, have so far passed relatively unnoticed. However, those adversely affected will include victims of UK multinational human rights violations in developing countries…Two aspects of the government's proposals…will dramatically impact on claimant lawyers' ability and enthusiasm to litigate in future: First, that defendants should only pay claimants' legal costs if "proportionate" to the compensation…these cases…are intrinsically complex. Moreover as so much is at stake, the multinationals instruct top City law firms to defend them to the hilt. Consequently, legal costs invariably substantially exceed compensation…Secondly, claimant lawyers' success fees will not be recoverable from defendants and would instead need to be deducted from claimants' compensation…The result – that claimants' lawyers can recover legal costs only up to the level of damages without success fees – will make these multinational cases financially unviable. [refers to Cape, Thor Chemicals, Trafigura, BP, Monterrico Metals (part of Zijin)]

Part of the following stories

Trafigura lawsuits (re Côte d’Ivoire)

Monterrico Metals lawsuit (re Peru)

UK: Proposed changes to civil litigation funding will restrict access to justice for victims of UK multinational human rights violations, says Richard Meeran of Leigh Day

Cape/Gencor lawsuits (re So. Africa)

BP lawsuit (re Colombia)