Influence of funders on the litigation landscape is only set to grow stronger.
Third-party litigation funding was once the kind of esoteric topic that rarely elicited more than a blank stare from lawyers. But this month’s lively Gazette roundtable discussion on the state of the industry, attended by leading litigators, showed just how far the funding sector has come.
These days, not only do all lawyers know what litigation funding is, but many of them now have practical experience of how it can help their clients – be it cash-strapped smaller businesses, or corporate giants looking to keep litigation risk off the balance sheet.
Third-party funding is not – and never will be – a panacea for the serious crisis in access to justice faced by many would-be litigants. Under-resourced and badly run courts, combined with the harsh effect of Jackson’s new proportionality rule and the absence of recoverability for lawyers’ success fees, mean that many cases are simply unviable for law firms to run – with or without litigation funding.
But some new models are emerging which could have a notable effect on the dynamic of disputes, such as the trend towards funders backing a ‘portfolio’ of a firm’s litigation, or even beginning to finance the defence of claims.
The influence of funders on the litigation landscape is only set to grow stronger.