Breach of contract and professional negligence claims dominate funder’s caseload

Edwards: funding puts legitimate pressure on the defendant

Edwards: funding puts legitimate pressure on the defendant

Breach of contract and professional negligence claims – particularly against solicitors – dominate third-party litigation funder Augusta Ventures’ case load, new figures have revealed.

Augusta is targeted at the sub-£1m funding market and said that 41% of the 56 cases it has funded since its launch last year were for breach of contract, and 32% professional negligence, the majority of which are being brought against solicitors.

Augusta has invested a total of £12.8m to date, putting in between £7,000 and £570,000 per case. It has an overall win-rate so far of 93%.

The funder said that “perhaps surprisingly, given that third-party funding is often seen as an option aimed at companies”, 52% of the claimants it has backed are individuals.

It continued: “The evidence suggests that funding speeds up the litigation clock, with those claims that have concluded taking an average of 9.6 months as against an initial estimate of 16.7, even though one in every five cases goes to court.

“This also improves lawyers’ cash flow, and a breakdown of where Augusta’s funding goes shows that 32% has been for counsel, followed by solicitors (27%), disbursements (21%) and after-the-event insurance (20%).” Augusta said it is currently working with 43 law firms, while a further 400-plus have been given access to its online platform to submit cases.

Augusta engagement director Jeunesse Edwards added that there was a high level of demand: “This is not big businesses suing each other for paper money – it is about people who need help to enforce their rights so as to keep their businesses afloat or the roof over their heads.

“Litigation funding puts legitimate pressure on the defendant – it says that the funded party will not be bullied simply because of the costs being racked up and, more importantly, that an independent third party with a lot of money to lose thinks that it is a strong case. It is no surprise, therefore, that claims are settling quicker as a result.”

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