Thursday, 26 June 2008

The name of the game: CONTRO£?

CONTRO£ might look more like a typo or a wheeze devised by a cybersquatter for getting more click-throughs -- but it's the name of a new scheme set up by major UK law firm Addleshaw Goddard with the aim of providing

"a cutting edge approach to funding civil litigation which reduces the cost of disputes and provides clients with more financial control and certainty during disputes than ever before". The cutting edge turns out to be conditional fee agreements, after-the-event insurance and third party funding (or a combination of all three), thus enabling their clients to be placed fully in control of the amount of risk they take. The firm adds: "We can reduce the day-to-day cost of running disputes; we can reduce (or eliminate entirely) the amount of our client's costs and expenses (including opponents' costs) if the client loses, and we can give our clients financial certainty in an inherently uncertain area.

Right: The Joys of Google Image -- search for "control freak" and on the first page of results you end up with Keira Knightly

The litigation landscape is changing dramatically ..., especially for clients who might have had a good case in the past, but ruled out making a claim because of uncertainty and potentially high costs. Our approach is very different to the standard approach by other law firms and represents a great value proposition for clients. By standing shoulder to shoulder with them, backing our judgement and sharing the risk we're demonstrating more commitment to clients than ever before".

This looks like a good topic for discussion, since there would seem to be plenty of ways in which this package of goodies can be deployed -- and plenty of opportunities for lawyers on the other side to exploit their adversaries' strength. Thoughts, anyone?

1 comment:

Filemot said...

The considerable financial risk of no-win no fee is really not a great idea for the solo practitioner.
I have looked at doing litigation on the no-win no fee basis in IP cases. I have located two providers of after the event insurance which is essential if the client is not to risk a damaging costs order.
There is LawAssist which is Litigation Protection Ltd and linked to Commercial Litigation Funding Ltd. They wanted a significant assessment fee of £295 and a barrister's opinion. Sorry a litigator certificate doesn't qualify you to give that opinion. The other is FirstAssist Insurance Service Limited. They also charged an assessment fee but didn't ask for a barrister's opinion - so its cheaper to get a refusal from them.
Candidly, there are no racing certainties in IP cases and it's only those cases that insurers will take. If there were good chances and available insurance Daniel Gersch would have sued Google instead of wasting his time in an OHIM oppositon. Even a win in the Board of Appeal is only a moral victory and €1200 in costs. Did they pay, I hope so. Maybe Addleshaw Goddard should make him an offer.