Betfred boss moves into lower-value litigation funding

David Kearns

Kearns: court fee hikes have “added to the strain” on resources

Fred Done, co-founder of betting giant Betfred, has moved into lower-value litigation funding with the launch of a new service specifically designed to help cover enhanced court fees.

Sparkle Capital Lite (SCL) is aimed at cases where the funding required is from £10,000 to £200,000, and does not take a percentage of the damages. Instead it relies on a fee based on the amount required, plus interest.

SCL is provided by specialist ATE insurer Acasta Europe, which has offered litigation funding for larger cases, where damages are likely to exceed £3m, since last autumn.

Acasta Europe is majority owned by Fred Done, who founded Betfred with his brother Peter. Sparkle Capital Limited is part of the Done business group, which includes Betfred and Peninsular Business Services among a number of companies.

David Kearns, solicitor and legal director of Acasta, said he knew from practical experience that a “large number of valid cases from smaller businesses or with lower levels of damages are not pursued because of lack of funds and worries over legal costs”.

Mr Kearns went on: “This concern has been exacerbated by the recent rise in court fees that have simply added to the strain on both solicitor and client resources. Because Sparkle Lite can be applied retrospectively, we believe that these issues become much less of a concern.”

Chris Kelly, sales director of Sparkle Capital, said Acasta already had arrangements with Claim Finance to fund medical negligence claims and Novitas to fund employment tribunals.

He said Acasta, based in Cheshire, was formerly known as Focus Insurance Services, but had recently changed its name after expanding into other insurance products in a number of European countries.

“Sparkle Lite is partly a response to changes in court fees, which have gone up by a horrendous amount. Claims can go begging when the issue fee is £10,000.”

Mr Kelly added that the rise in court fees had made things particularly difficult for smaller law firms and businesses, and the funding could be used both for disbursements and solicitors’ fees.


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