Litigation hits 66 per cent of UK companies

Two-thirds of UK companies have been embroiled in litigation during the past year, while three-quarters of companies in the US were involved in litigation.

US firm Fulbright & Jaworski surveyed 304 US and 50 UK in-house counsel about the litigation they had been involved in during the past 12 months. The results showed that 48 per cent of the UK companies expect litigation to rise in 2006.

UK companies are more likely to settle litigation before the start of court proceedings than US organisations. Just 13 per cent of US companies said this had happened, compared to 23 per cent of the UK respondents. Ninety-five per cent of companies with revenues of more than $1bn (£564.4m) settled at least half of their disputes before the start of the trial or arbitration.

Fulbright London litigation partner Graham Simkin said the figures on settlement indicated that the Woolf reforms had had some effect. However he added: “We did not get a significant thumbs up or thumbs down for the Woolf reforms.”