On 7 March, an article in Defense One explains the potential threats from third-party litigation funding (TPLF), the funding of lawsuits by third parties with no direct connection to a dispute. In these suits, the often-substantial costs of litigation are borne not by the party that claims harm and files the suit but by someone else. It argues that litigation can be used to delay policy or commercial processes, harass, embarrass, or to obtain confidential information. Expecting such abuses, most legal systems contain built-in safeguards against malicious or vexatious litigation. However, these were never formulated to account for sophisticated campaigns emanating from abroad. In the US, one study estimated a 414% rise in US litigation funding 2013-17. The article suggest that funders could easily be foreign state actors or – more likely – state-controlled entities and private sector conduits and that, if a foreign state underwrites a lawsuit with no expectation of a return, transparency requirements would be unlikely to be triggered.
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