More than a quarter (26%) of complaints to the Legal Ombudsman are triggered by lack of clarity on fees, a major internal survey has found. Family law has emerged as the biggest offender, followed by wills and litigation.
A litigation funder with £40m a year to invest is considering using alternative business structures to make funds available to law firms, according to its chief executive. They have to be prepared to work under damages-based agreements (contingency fees), however.
Third-party litigation funders thinking of investing in law firms to avoid liability for adverse costs will have to try their luck in front of the court after an important report on contingency fees refused to make a recommendation on whether this should be possible.
Many of the regulations underpinning the regulatory regime for legal services – including those designating the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Council for Licensed Conveyancers as ABS licensing authorities – are under the microscope as part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge, it has emerged.
Alternative business structures may well herald the demise of hourly billing as legal practice becomes even more competitive, the Master of the Rolls has predicted. Contingency fees and price comparision websites will also play a role.
An 11-man working party will meet for the first time today to advise on how to introduce contingency fees for court work in England and Wales. The working party has been set up by the Civil Justice Council.