It’s behind you

By | 1st December 2009

Continuing last month’s seasonal theme (Mirror, mirror on the wall 19th November), I was delighted to see that there is a website dedicated to all things panto called

Fairy godmothers and magic lamps do not feature much, I suspect, in the setting up of vehicles to provide outside funding to litigants who cannot afford to fund their cases. It is far too serious a business for that. It is also a business whose time has come. One lawyer commented to me that “everyone is jumping on the bandwagon now” and I was engaged in a detailed discussion on the subject with another guest last night at the launch of two new offices of European Business Lawyers, Miller Rosenfalck LLP.  True to the aims of the firm, the new offices being celebrated were in different parts of the world as far apart as Norwich and New York. No surprise that I was invited to the party in Norwich and not in New York, but there you go! It was a very good party! 

My contacts certainly have a point. There is much discussion of the concept and some interesting ventures are being put together.

Whether it is an idea whose time has come or whether it is just a passing fad I do not know but the elements for its success seem to be in place, including something for everyone involved in litigation and the potential for good returns on investment for the investors ( always assuming they get their sums right and pick the right cases to fund)!

Anyway, the last month has seen reports of two more ventures in this field. Firstly, there was a report in The Lawyer dated 2nd November that legal expenses insurer, 1st Class Legal, was to join forces with Litigation Solutions to launch an Isle of Man domiciled fund to raise £50 million. Secondly, The Times reported on 17th November that “a company being set up to tap into Britain’s fast-growing litigation funding market could prove to be the pioneer that opens the floodgates”.

The company, to be called Alvaro, has well known lawyer, Ian Rosenblatt as Chief Executive and is to be chaired by Richard Jewson, former head of the company of the same name and currently Chariman of Archant and Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk. The report said that the company planned an IPO to raise “about £50 million” and “will invest in and manage a diversified portfolio of contingent litigation cases…”

Litigators need to be aware of these developments which have been widely reported. In a blog which looks at aspects of Smart e-Disclosure, readers will not be surprised to learn that Millnet, along with other service providers, is watching the developments closely. Managing the data and getting to the issues early will be a crucial task for funders to perform if they are to provide a service to litigants and a return to their investors and technology can certainly help.

“It’s behind you” will not be what lawyers will want to hear from clients who turn out to be better informed than their advisers!