£940m fine for UBS

“No amount of profit is more important than the reputation of this firm, and we are committed to doing business with integrity,” says chief executive Sergio Ermotti

The Swiss banking giant is to pay £940m in settlement of charges of fraud, manipulating Libor and paying bribes to brokers.  It includes a £160m payment to the FSA.  The penalty is the largest ever imposed on a bank by the FSA, being more than three times the £290m fine levied on Barclays in June.

The FSA said that at least 45 people were involved in, or were aware of, the rigging and that the … Read More

Changes arising from the Jackson Review to be implemented in April 2013.

Forthcoming changes in commercial and personal injury matters will mean that, other than in industrial disease cases, the successful party will no longer be able to recover the After the Event insurance premium from its opponent nor the success fee charged by its solicitor if a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is in place. ATE insurance is taken out after an event such as an accident, to insure the policyholder for expenses as well as any costs if they lose their case.

New funding models are bound to emerge from these developments: damages based agreements (DBAs) where a lower hourly rate is … Read More

“Voluntary Code is Working” says Co-Author

One year on from its adoption, the voluntary Code of Conduct for Litigation Funders is “working well and is fit for purpose for what we intended,” says one of its co-authors, Professor Rachael Mulheron of the Civil Justice Council, who added that membership had become a ‘badge of honour’ for the firms already signed up to it.  Prof Mulheron said that ultimately, judges would be responsible for upholding good behaviour and practice and that the code would remain under review.

The Code, which was set up in response to Lord Justice Jackson’s comprehensive review of civil litigation costs in 2010, was … Read More

UK Means Big Business for Litigation Funders

The times they are a-changing:  back in the middle ages, champerty  – the selling of a claim to a third party, usually your feudal lord – was a crime, being thought to encourage excessive litigation.  Derived from the French “champart”, which means sharing a tenant’s field or crop, champerty was formally decriminalised in 1967 and forty-five years on, it’s been rebranded “Third Party Litigation Funding”, developing itself into a £500m investment industry…and it’s on the lookout for potentially lucrative opportunities in the British courtroom.

Suspicion lingers on, though: Liberal Democrat Lord Thomas of Gresham has called for a statutory code to … Read More

Is the Growth of Third-Party Funding a Cause for Concern?

Traditionally, the English legal system has adopted a cautious approach to alternative methods of litigation funding; this has customarily been limited to legal aid or private funding but in recent years the Courts have taken a more liberal and rational attitude which takes into account spiralling legal costs, the decline of legal aid, and the promotion of access to justice.  At present, relatively few cases are professionally funded but nonetheless it is a growing industry:  the change in public policy, together with pressure on potential investors to find an alternative to traditional investment vehicles, will undoubtedly affect the future of … Read More

Insurers’ Russian Roulette?

Pity the poor b*gger insuring Addleshaw Goddard’s action for Boris Berezovsky in his recent case against Roman Abramovich.  With little prospect of an appeal, so damning were Mrs Justice Gloster’s comments regarding the evidence given by Berezovsky, one can only speculate whether the judge’s assessment of the character might give the insurers a loophole.   The case is thought to have generated fees of between £100m and £150m.

Addleshaws acquired Berezovsky as a client in 2010 and agreed to bankroll the mammoth litigation on a conditional fee structured deal, standing to gain a huge uplift with a win, but taking a lower … Read More

Third Party Funding Endorsed by Jersey Court

For a second time, the Royal Court of Jersey has endorsed litigation funding’s legitimate role in bringing cases on the island.   In Barclays Wealth Trustees (Jersey) Limited v Equity Trust (Jersey) Limited and Equity Trust Services Limited, Equity Trust was the former trustee and manager of real property unit trusts which ran into financial trouble in 2007.  Barclays Wealth, the successor trustee and manager, are bringing a case alleging breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duty, and are being funded by Harbour Litigation.

Equity Trust requested that the Royal Court strike out the litigation because the claimants had the benefit … Read More

All Aboard for Third-Party Funding

With the resurgence of litigation following the financial crisis, increasing numbers of lenders are piling into the marketplace to service law firms’ need for funding.  Whilst still a relatively new concept, TPLF is quickly becoming mainstream but the rapid growth of the sector means that it is coming under scrutiny as the Government questions the place of litigation funding in the legal market; a new code of conduct was introduced last year by the newly-established Association of Litigation Funders and was welcomed as a way of rationalising industry standards.

So far, only a handful of litigation funds are actually signed up … Read More