REUTERS | GCS

Why is customer service an anathema in the third-party litigation funding (TPLF) industry, viewed as some “thing” that matters only when eating out in a restaurant, buying a car or staying at a hotel? We hear lots of consultant-inspired corporate tag lines (“internationally recognised”, “global force”, “market leading”, “strong track record”, “in-house underwriting capabilities”, to name but a few), but doesn’t customer service underpin all of these like they do in any other market? And if it does, then why is TPLF (after two decades of continuous growth) still receiving the same criticism time and time again that applying for funding is just not quick enough to the extent it can often feel like one time-gobbling abyss of process after process?

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REUTERS | Loriene Perera

No CPR rule has kept the lawyers and the rule drafters as busy as Part 36. 25 years ago, only a defendant could make an offer to settle which had deemed costs consequences if it was accepted, or was not beaten by the plaintiff (as the claimant then was) if the matter went to trial. That was by making a payment into court under Order 22 of the Rules of the Supreme Court (RSC). There was nothing in the RSC which permitted a plaintiff to make an offer which had deemed costs consequences if the defendant refused to accept it when that would have been the correct thing to do.

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REUTERS | GCS

The case of Mullaraj v Secretary of State for the Home Department has provided further judicial comment that a paying party should not expect to obtain a different order for costs at the conclusion of a provisional assessment hearing simply by relying on CPR 47.20(3)(b) when the paying party hasn’t beaten any previous offers made.

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REUTERS | Mike Hutchings

Over time, due to the rapid growth in the availability of litigation finance, more and more cases involve a minimum of three stakeholders: a litigant, a funder and an after the event (ATE) insurer. A pre-condition of any litigation finance arrangement is that ATE insurance is purchased by the claimant, in the claimant’s own name; that by necessity creates a three-party relationship. Of course, where the legal representative is acting on a conditional fee agreement (CFA) or damages-based agreement (DBA), that makes at least four stakeholders (or five if counsel is acting on any form of contingency agreement).

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REUTERS | Clodagh Kilcoyne

Following the introduction of costs budgeting under section II of Part 3 of the Civil Procedure Rules on 1 April 2013, much has been said, written and done about how it has affected Part 7 multi-track litigation in claims worth at least £50,000 where it is compulsory.

To some, costs budgeting has added an additional layer to the already formidable expense of civil litigation by the front-loading of very significant costs in actions which never reach trial.

To others, costs budgeting has delivered a welcome degree of control over what each party can spend and expect to recover in costs if successful, and what the outlay will be if unsuccessful.

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REUTERS | Michaela Rehle

In Jamieson v Wurttemburgische Versicherung AG and another, Master Davison gave an interesting judgment refusing to lift a stay in these proceedings, which had been issued by the claimant against the respective defendants: the insurer of a taxi; and his employer. These proceedings had been stayed by consent pending the outcome of a claim issued in Germany by the insurer seeking a declaration that it was not liable for the claimant’s accident. Instead, Master Davison made a request under Article 29(2) of the Recast Brussels Regulation (1215/2012) asking the German court to confirm the date of filing at court of the insurer’s claim.

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REUTERS | Mike Hutchings

The recent High Court judgment in Various Claimants v G4S plc provides important guidance on the ability of claimants to be added to a claim before service, and on amendments to the descriptions of claimants after service where the relevant limitation period arguably has expired.

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REUTERS |

There are differences between substantive litigation and costs litigation which are critical to explaining why parties might be resistant to alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in costs matters. The primary difference is that in the costs litigation the liability for substantive costs has already been determined and the paying party is already feeling the pain of footing the bill. Any additional step in the detailed assessment proceedings is perceived (not without cause) as merely adding to the costs.

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REUTERS | Kim Hong-Ji

Contingency fees provoke very different responses from lawyers, ranging from the view that they are the work of the devil, to them being the ultimate tool providing access to justice.

As usual, the truth lies somewhere in between, but the direction of travel of recent senior court decisions is definitely to endorse contingency fees, which are the ultimate form of proportionality.

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