LawAssist lauches case funding scheme

Litigation costs insurer Greystoke Legal Services has responded to the government's legal reform plans by producing an insurance-backed loan facility designed to fund cases from the outset.

The company, which runs 'after the event' insurance policy LawAssist, has linked up with merchant banker Guinness Mahon to offer clients a loan facility to fund their LawAssist insurance premium, medical reports, expert witness fees and counsel fees.

Brian Dunk, of Greystoke, said the loans at an APR rate of 11.75 per cent meant firms could embark on 'meritorious cases' which required considerable initial funding.

The package which covers most civil litigation cases including medical negligence is available to the 1,500 firms on the LawAssist panel. The credit facility is securitised by the LawAssist policy.

The move will please the government, which wants firms to play a more active role in the funding of litigation a point which Geoff Hoon, Parliamentary Secretary at the Lord Chancellor's Department, reiterated last week during a debate on conditional fees at the Oxford Union.

Hoon also suggested that unsuccessful litigants should not only pay the other side's costs, but also any uplift being charged by their opponent's solicitor.