This series of blog articles will address the increasing viability of third party funding as an alternative to traditional litigation funding methods. It will look at how the law has developed historically and how the Court now approaches third party funding and the potential liability of third party funders.
The second part of this series will explore the Court’s first acceptance of third party funding in the matter of Factortame Ltd v Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions No.8 .
This matter related to a challenge brought by Spanish fisherman who sought to claim damages against the Secretary of State for the unlawful prohibition of fishing in UK territorial waters. A firm of accountants agreed with the Claimants to prepare and submit claims for loss or damage as a result of any losses suffered. The Accountants agreed to act in return for 8% of any damages recovered.
The Claimant’s succeeded in their challenge and were awarded damages and costs. On a preliminary issue the agreement was held to be not champertous and could be enforced against the Secretary of State.
The Defendant’s Challenge
The Defendant claimed that such an agreement was champertous and unlawful. It was argued that for an expert to act on a contingency fee basis would give the expert a significant financial interest in the case which is highly undesirable.
As stated in my previous blog, the tort of champerty had been abolished and the starting point for considering any arrangement was that it would be presumed enforceable unless there was a valid reason as a matter of public policy.
The Accountants had not acted as experts directly in this matter but had instead funded independent experts. Furthermore, by the time that they were instructed the issue of liability had already been decided.
Therefore, the Court held that such an agreement was not in the circumstances champertous or against public policy.
In the next part of the series…
The next blog will take a look at the liability of third party funders in litigation in the matter of Arkin v Borchard Lines Ltd (nos 2 and 3)  1 WLR 3055.
This blog was prepared by Kris Kilsby who is an Associate Costs Lawyer at Clarion and part of the Costs Litigation Funding Team. Kris can be contacted at email@example.com or on 0113 227 3628.