The Bar Council has joined forces with the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and the Law Society to set up a working group to examine the viability of a Contingent Legal Aid Fund (CLAF).
A CLAF is a recyclable, pooled fund that is financed by money derived from the damages recovered in successful civil cases where the client was supported by the fund.
Once up and running, a CLAF would fund litigation for those who lack the resources to do so and do not qualify for legal aid.
Chaired by Justin Fenwick QC, the group will examine how a viable CLAF could be established and the legal and procedural rules required.
It aims to produce an initial report by the end of September and a final report before the end of the year.
Bar chairman, Chantal-Aimee Doerries QC said: ‘I am very pleased that the three professional bodies have agreed to investigate the viability of a CLAF.’
The Bar Council has examined it as a possible alternative source of funding civil justice over many years, publishing reports on the issue in 1998 and 2011.
Since then, Doerries said, the civil justice landscape has ‘changed considerably’ due to the cuts implemented by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.
‘It is therefore timely to re-examine the feasibility of an independent, not-for-profit CLAF established by the legal profession, in the public interest, to promote access to justice,’ she added.