Mass Justice
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Mass Justice

Challenges of Representation and Distribution

Edited by Jenny Steele and Willem H. van Boom

This insightful book considers phenomena such as mass torts, which affect numerous victims, and complex insolvency cases, which concern multiple and often competing interests.
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Chapter 7: Access to Environmental Justice in England and Wales: Funding Representation for Court Reviews of Administrative Action

Robert Lee and Radoslaw Stech


Robert Lee and Radoslaw Stech* 1. INTRODUCTION Environmental pollution might be considered one of the more likely of social concerns to give rise to multi-party litigation. The impact of pollution on environmental media affects large numbers of people who rely on water, air and land for the very basics of life. Significant harm can result from human exposure to contaminants, but many groups would wish to act on behalf of the environment to remedy harm caused to a wide range of other receptors including species and their habitats. The diffuse nature of environmental pollution is abundantly clear from the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change may yet generate group litigation on a scale barely imagined in the past.1 Yet in the UK, as this chapter will demonstrate, prospects for large scale environmental litigation have been narrowing rather than widening over a number of years. The reasons for this are largely driven by the difficulties of funding of litigation, described as the single greatest barrier to environmental justice.2 This is particularly so given the common law rule that costs follow the event so that a successful party to litigation may expect to recover money spent on fees and disbursements from the unsuccessful party. This rule might be said to raise the costs of litigation3 and may discourage cases proceeding to trial4 so that cases may tend to be settled rather than litigated.5 In the absence of available access to environmental justice through private law, there has been increasing reliance...

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