Spotlight
Family Law Awards 2020
Shortlist announced - time to place your vote!
Court of Protection Practice 2020
'Court of Protection Practice goes from strength to strength, having...
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance Tenth Edition
Jackson's Matrimonial Finance is an authoritative specialist text...
Spotlight
Latest articles
Resolution issues Brexit notes for family lawyers ahead of IP completion day
Family lawyer organisation, Resolution, has issued two joint notes to assist family lawyers in England and Wales ahead of the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period at 11 pm on 31 December...
Online filing is real-time on New Year's Eve: practice direction change to accommodate EU withdrawal arrangements
I have heard that there will be an amendment to the relevant practice directions to provide that online applications received on New Year’s Eve after 4:30 PM and before 11:00 PM will count as...
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust v AB
The issue in this case concerned AB’s capacity to make specific decisions about treatment relating to her anorexia nervosa. She was 28 years old and had suffered with anorexia since the age of...
EU laws continue until at least 2038 and beyond
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020.  But in matters of law it fully leaves on 31 December 2020.  But EU laws will continue to apply, and be applied, in the English family courts from 1...
Remote hearings in family proceedings – how is justice perceived?
The motion for the recent Kingsley Napley debate:  “This House believes remote hearings are not remotely fair” was carried with a fairly balanced 56% in favour and 44% against....
View all articles
Authors

Sandra Davis' Week: Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!

Sep 29, 2018, 17:57 PM
Slug : sandra-davis-week-6
Meta Title :
Meta Keywords :
Canonical URL :
Trending Article : No
Prioritise In Trending Articles : No
Date : Jun 17, 2010, 03:30 AM
Article ID : 91079

Suffer any wrong that can be done you rather than come here!

Sandra DavisNo litigation is cheap, certainly not litigation concerning matrimonial finance.  Of course one important difference between matrimonial and most other litigation is that divorce is an uninsurable risk and the costs are non-deductable.  Generally, the very assets that are the subject of the dispute are therefore diminished in meeting legal expenses.

 Last year Munby J (as he then was) heard a ruinously expensive case in which over 70% of the matrimonial assets were "squandered" in legal costs, leaving less than 30% for distribution within the family.  

KSO v MJO and JMO (PSO Intervening) [2009] 1 FLR 1036 was an extreme example. However the final legal bill of £430,000 pales into insignificance when compared with the extraordinary expenditure incurred in many other high profile cases.

John Charman's legal bill, for example, was said to exceed £5M, an astonishing figure on any analysis - but he could afford it and most certainly understands risk.

Not so, it seems, either Michelle Young or Mati White, both of whom have now run out of money litigating against their respective husbands, Scot and Marco Pierre.

Before the financial crisis, any number of private banks would have beaten a path to Mrs Young and White's doors offering to lend them money. However, as the value of their assets has plummeted (or in the case of Mr Young, evaporated), so the banks have become considerably more risk averse and less inclined to make loans.

In the absence of the availability of a commercial litigation loan, first Mrs Young and now, it appears, Mrs White have turned to third party litigation funding.  Commercial funders assess the risk, fund a case and, if the client wins, take a percentage of the award.  The percentage will vary according to risk, by anything from 15 to 30 per cent.  The appeal to the funders is that it offers a fantastic return in this market and the appeal to the litigant is obvious; particularly if there are no viable alternatives.

However, as Mrs Young found out, funders take their risk assessments very seriously indeed; Harbour Litigation Funding pulled the plug on her after a matter of weeks leaving her unrepresented and ultimately with no choice but to discontinue.  And whilst it looks like Mati White has been given a financial lifeline so she can be represented at the final hearing of her application next week, one can only speculate on how much of her award will be top-sliced to repay her funder's eleventh hour investment.

Sandra Davis is a Partner and Head of Family at Mishcon de Reya. She is a member of the firm's management board, a Fellow of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the author of International Child Abduction (Sweet & Maxwell, 1993) and a member of the Lord Chancellor's Child Abduction Panel. In 2009 she was shortlisted in the Citywealth Magic Circle Awards as a Leading Lawyer.

The views expressed by contributing authors are not necessarily those of Family Law or Jordan Publishing and should not be considered as legal advice.

Categories :
  • Articles
Tags :
Authors
Provider :
Product Bucket :
Recommend These Products
Load more comments
Comment by from