Construction litigation specialist Adina Thorn said yesterday the UK’s biggest litigation funder had agreed in principle to back a New Zealand class action against manufacturers of defective plaster cladding.
Ms Thorn said the dedicated investment funds Harbour Litigation Funding Ltd advises had agreed in principle to provide funding to progress the claim against various manufacturers of defective plaster cladding installed in thousands of New Zealand buildings. The claim was likely to exceed $100 million.
Harbour has over £400 million in capital behind it, operates in 12 international jurisdictions and provides commercial litigation funding to all types of dispute. It funds part, or all, of the costs and receives a share of the proceeds of the case in return – if there is a successful outcome.
Ms Thorn said Harbour’s agreement to fund the proposed action means that there will be no out-of-pocket cost to claimants: “Harbour only invests in cases it believes have strong prospects of success, so we are encouraged that they have decided to fund this class action.”
Over 1200 building owners have registered for the proposed class action via the Good cladding website, including from Australia & the UK. Ms Thorn said the number surprised her: “We have had an overwhelming response from ‘leaky building’ owners across New Zealand. Many have lost everything – some have 100% mortgages or cannot increase their lending, most can’t afford to fix the problem. Thousands of people & families have been left with no choice but to live in leaky, mouldy homes that can pose a significant health hazard.”
The next phase will involve detailed evaluations of claims. Ms Thorn is still seeking more registrations, but noted that registrations for single apartments or houses managed by a body corporate were difficult to consider. “In these cases it is important that the body corporate manager register the entire building,” she said.
Attribution: Lawyer’s release.