Civil litigation lawyers will have taken note of Lord Faulks’ call for regulation of third-party funding.
Taking an entirely dispassionate view, the factor that stands out for me is the erosion of the lawyer’s position when faced with the influence of a third party having no direct interest in the action, save for commercial gain.
Granted that the concepts of maintenance and champerty have been set aside, there remains the reality that they were there for a very important purpose – one that seems to have been conveniently forgotten.
Civil litigation has become ridiculously expensive. That is a fact. The temptation to involve the financial backing of a disinterested third party must be strong.
That third party needs to protect itself with an LFA. We are now into dangerous territory for the lawyer who clearly owes their duty to the client (and to the client alone). A third party’s intrusion into the delicate decision of whether or not to accept an offer of settlement seems entirely abhorrent to me – LFA or not.
We are on a slippery slope. Let us hope the Law Commission will take a long hard look and put its foot down before matters go any further.
John Greenwood, Chippenham, Wilts