- Medicine - Jul 28 Mercia Fund Management provides £379,000 to help NuVision commercialise groundbreaking eyecare technology
- Event - Jul 28 Mapping changes to dialects
- Event - Jul 28 ’Pride’ over Eisteddfod’s return to Meifod
- Social Sciences - Jul 28 Major presence at Eisteddfod
- Life Sciences - Jul 28 Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year
- Mechanical Engineering - Jul 28 EPSRC rail consortium shows how to cut costs and reduce delays
- Life Sciences - Jul 28 The world’s rarest skeleton stands on four legs once again
- Life Sciences - Jul 28 Bristol undergraduates publish parasite research
- Business - Jul 28 Midlands’ universities group appoints new director to drive Midlands Engine agenda
- Medicine - Jul 28 Degree in sleep medicine aims to awaken understanding of overlooked condition
- Medicine - Jul 28 Researchers and pharma in innovative new consortium to develop and study early stage drugs
- Environmental Sciences - Jul 28 Microscopic organism to make green fuels in new project
Is third party funding effectively regulated in the UK?
A study shows that the market for litigation funding, otherwise known as third party funding, is firmly established for commercial disputes in the UK and is extending into cases involving ordinary citizens, such as personal injury and group actions.
Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Lincoln warn that such developments mean that effective regulation is now needed to ensure clients have control in such disputes. They argue that more transparency would protect the integrity of the dispute process, as well as funders’ interests.
The report concludes that claimants in England and Wales would have to rely on ancient laws that protect a client’s interest in dealings with a lawyer – the common law of 'champerty' and 'maintenance'. This was first invoked in medieval times to stop a third party from buying into someone else’s lawsuit; but in the 21st century, the researchers argue it should be more widely interpreted to include third party litigation funders as well as lawyers.
There has been a significant increase in the last ten years in the number of suppliers of third party funding in England and Wales, says the report. Third party funders are companies that are capable of raising vast sums of money to allow claimants in civil litigation cases to take their case through the courts or arbitration. In return for their finance, the funders retain a share of any damages awarded.
"Clients need more legal protection as otherwise there is potential for third party funders to control claimants’ cases for their own advantage."
Professor Christopher Hodges
Under forthcoming legislation, third party funders can include lawyers’ firms that are the sole funders of litigation – where they are working with clients on the basis of a contingency fee, also known as 'damages-based agreements' or 'no win, no fee agreements'. Such arrangements are already common in the United States, are permitted in tribunals in England and Wales, and are due to be extended by the government under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. The report concludes that this development in the UK should give cause for concern.
Co-author Professor Christopher Hodges, Head of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University, and Erasmus Professor of the Fundamentals of Private Law at Erasmus University, the Netherlands, said: 'A third party funder should be kept at arm’s length in the litigation process. For instance, funders should not determine the terms of a settlement. There is the danger that funders might opt for a lower settlement than the client might want in order to resolve a case quickly.
'Similarly, we do not want to see a situation where the third party funder and a lawyer’s firm are in collusion against their client’s best interests. This does not appear to have happened yet in the UK, but we want to ensure that any risk of it happening in the future is removed. Clients need more legal protection as otherwise there is potential for third party funders to control claimants’ cases for their own advantage.'
The report of over 150 pages, 'Litigation funding: Status and Issues', examines third party funding in its many forms in different parts of the world.
The report shows that, to date, almost all of the claimants using third party funding have been commercial clients, usually small and medium sized companies, rather than private individuals. It suggests that full regulation would become essential if individual consumers start to engage third party funders to pursue their claims. The researchers conclude that there is less concern about the risks of third party funding for the business community.
Last job offers
- Microtechnics - 28.7
Associate Professor in Oceanic Engineering Science
- Mechanical Engineering - 28.7
Assistant Professor in Additive Manufacturing Operations Research
- Microtechnics - 28.7
Associate Professor of Engineering Science (Photonics)
- Pedagogy/Education Science - 27.7
Assistant Professor in Quantitative Research Methods in Politics and/or International Relations (Teaching...
- Mathematics - 25.7
Assistant Professor in Mathematical Physics (Fixed-term)
- Pedagogy/Education Science - 22.7
Assistant Professor in Politics & International Relations - Teaching Only (fixed-term)
- Medicine/Pharmacology - 22.7
Radcliffe Professorship of Medicine
- Mathematics - 22.7
Professorship of Mathematical Logic