News

Third-party funder and “biggest ever ATE policy” backs £4bn truck collective action

Motorway traffic jam

Third-party litigation funder Therium Capital Management is backing a £4bn opt-in collection action being brought by the Road Haulage Association against truck manufacturers found guilty of illegal price fixing. It has also secured “the largest tranche of after-the-event insurance that’s ever been underwritten”.

June 16th, 2017

Hundreds of users suspended by MedCo for failing to sign financial links agreement

handshake

Some 560 authorised users of MedCo – law firms, claims management companies and compensators – were suspended from the system earlier in the spring for failing to accept the new user agreement that requires them to declare financial links with any medical reporting organisation. Meanwhile, four tier 1 MROs have been reclassified as tier 2.

June 15th, 2017

Judge warns of costs sanctions for parties that drowned him in skeletons and bundles

The pile of file binder with papers

A High Court judge has described as “absurd” the conduct of parties in an employment dispute that produced thousands of pages in bundles – but only referred to 100 of them – and skeleton arguments more than seven times the expected length. Mr Justice Garnham warned that he was likely to penalise them in costs.

June 14th, 2017

Firms leading huge VW emissions scandal claim forge links with European counterparts

Volkswagen logo

The law firms running a huge group action against Volkswagen over the car emissions scandal have joined forces with a Dutch organisation that yesterday launched proceedings against VW in the Netherlands, as part of efforts by claimant firms across Europe to co-ordinate their actions.

June 14th, 2017

Claimant firm castigated for “procedural chaos” that saw case struck out

Insurance

A claimant law firm that allowed a straightforward and relatively low-value road traffic accident claim to descend into “procedural chaos” has seen it struck out by the High Court. The firm had proceeded “as if compliance with the CPR and the orders of this court were of scant importance”, said the judge.

June 13th, 2017

Burford pockets £52m as it lays off more risk of major investment

Tim Dutton QC

Top third-party funder Burford Capital has continued to lay off the risk of a massive investment, with its latest deal meaning that it has now sold off 25% of its entitlement to the proceeds of the case. Meanwhile, the AIM-listed company has named Tim Dutton QC as head of its UK investment committee.

June 13th, 2017

Silk takes over as new chairman of Expert Witness Institute

Martin Spencer QC 2

The Expert Witness Institute has appointed leading clinical negligence specialist Martin Spencer QC as its new chair of governors. He replaces the Sir Anthony Hooper, who completed his four-year tenure at the institute’s AGM last month.

June 13th, 2017

Former justice minister calls for regulation of third-party funding

Lord Faulks

Third-party litigation funding is “in danger of undermining the integrity of our much-admired legal system” and it is time for statutory regulation, the former justice minister Lord Faulks QC has claimed. The state of the market means there are “real risks of abuse and disproportionally large sums are flowing into the coffers of litigation funders”, he said.

June 8th, 2017

Solicitor fined for making false claims in litigation “while suffering mental illness”

SDT

A solicitor has been fined £7,500 for making false claims about being in possession of documents in personal injury cases – misconduct which a psychiatrist attributed to an illness that temporarily affected her ability to work.

June 7th, 2017

MedCo kicks out more shell companies

stethoscope

MedCo has identified and suspended a further 21 ‘shell’ companies from the MedCo system, taking the total purged since the revised qualifying criteria were put in place last October to 155. The definition of a medical reporting organisation was changed last year to stop the use of shells to gather instructions and forward them on.

June 6th, 2017

First opt-out class action withdrawn after damages found to be insufficient

Mr Justice Roth

The first attempt to bring an opt-out class action has failed after a decision of the Competition Appeal Tribunal that meant the claim would not be worth enough money to proceed. It will nonetheless help others bringing class actions, including the finding that the fact the impetus for the case came from the solicitors was not objectionable.

June 5th, 2017

Funding update: third-party backing for credit card claims, DBA insurance launch and more

Mark Humphries

City law firm Humphries Kerstetter has secured third-party funding to launch of a new wave of claims against MasterCard and Visa on behalf of a host of companies. The move follows the firm’s recent negotiation of a series of settlements with the card schemes on behalf of Tesco and WH Smith.

June 1st, 2017

MedCo suspends 37 users for failing to upload medical case data

stethoscope on keyboard - medical report

MedCo has continued its enforcement activity by suspending 23 medical reporting organisations and 14 direct medical experts for failing to upload medical case data to its system. Both are required to upload medical case data as part of their user agreements.

June 1st, 2017

Claimant lawyers cast significant doubt over government’s plan to reform injured baby cases

Newborn baby boy

Claimant lawyers have strongly criticised government plans for a new administrative compensation scheme for birth injury claims, saying that families would “be held hostage” under it. Various respondents to the consultation were especially critical that it did not guarantee access to independent legal advice throughout.

May 30th, 2017

Champerty holds firm in Ireland as Supreme Court rejects third-party funding

Chief Justice Susan Denham

The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that third-party litigation funding is champertous, citing statute dating back to 1634, and so banned Harbour Litigation Funding from backing a major commercial case. Chief Justice Susan Denham said changing the law was a matter for legislation, not the court.

May 30th, 2017

Blog

Formal regulation – a price worth paying for third-party funders

Christopher Deadman 2

The comments by Lord Faulks QC last week that third-party litigation funding is “in danger of undermining the integrity of our much-admired legal system”, has been met with predictable howls of derision by those involved in the industry. The issue of statutory regulation or licensing has been on the agenda for a while but the creation of the Association of Litigation Funders, with its voluntary code of conduct has gone some way to persuading the Ministry of Justice (before the election, at least) that this is not necessary for the time being.

June 13th, 2017

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