Foreign Lawsuits to Fund Access to Justice?

Access to justice is a common debated theme, most notably how to get the necessary resources to improve the accessibility to and of our judicial system. It was with interest that I read today’s article from UK’s The Guardian entitled: “Foreign lawsuits may face higher UK legal fees: Justice secretary Chris Grayling says he wants to ensure that those who litigate in British courts pay their fair share.” This other article, published two weeks ago in the same newspaper, also provided some additional concrete figures and examples of foreign lawsuits being adjudicated in the UK (many of these made headlines for the amounts and allegations at play). 

How and how much foreign litigants would be required to pay to benefit from the UK’s justice system is not clear, but this remains a possibility the Ministry of Justice is exploring to increase funding of the UK’s courts and tribunals. It will certainly be interesting to read more about this proposal, which may ultimately provide other jurisdictions with innovative ways to secure the funding required to provide its citizens with greater access to justice. It is clear that such matters as the independence of the judiciary and ensuring that the funds are used in a manner that actually provides greater access to justice to those who are most in need of it will be of utmost importance in such initiaves. However, are there any drawbacks or clear red flags that this type of funding would not be appropriate?

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Comments

  1. I wonder if the higher fees will be enough to even slightly deter the would be plaintiffs in engaging in libel tourism to the UK.

    As for contractually agreed forums of commerical dispute, I imagine a real measure of success will be how successful the UK is at displacing Delaware.

  2. I doubt there’s much money in it. However, London is a very big centre for international arbitration; perhaps their courts are just as attractive, or would be with the appropriate marketing (and ability to take jurisdiction over the foreign cases).

    There isn’t much libel tourism – a handful of cases a year, perhaps, not all of which win and presumably the losers of which have to pay their adversaries’ court costs. So you might not even get an extra staffer at a single legal aid clinic for what such cases bring in through court fees.

  3. I doubt there’s much money in it. However, London is a very big centre for international arbitration; perhaps their courts are just as attractive, or would be with the appropriate marketing (and ability to take jurisdiction over the foreign cases).

    There isn’t much libel tourism – a handful of cases a year, perhaps, not all of which win and presumably the losers of which have to pay their adversaries’ court costs. So you might not even get an extra staffer at a single legal aid clinic for what such cases bring in through court fees.