LoanCheck struggles to build panel due to conflicts

Claims firm LoanCheck is struggling to build a legal panel for suing financial institutions and brokers and is citing law firms’ conflicts of interest as the problem.

The company says it needs a panel of litigation firms to deal with more than 600 cases of mortgage and loan mis- selling. It has spoken to 20 firms but has found that they are unwilling to pitch because their conveyancing departments cannot afford to upset their institutional clients.

LoanCheck managing director John Whittaker told The Lawyer: “Firms which have strong litigation [personal injury] groups also have strong conveyancing arms. While litigation partners think we have a brilliant business, when it’s put to partners it’s knocked back because of the conveyancing departments’ reliance on financial institutions.”

Whittaker believes that the number of claims arising from mortgage and loan mis-selling could dwarf the recent furore over pensions mis-selling.

His problems mirror those of many companies’ when trying to sue banks. Due to the huge size of banks’ legal panels, it is almost impossible to find a law firm to represent you in litigation against the banks – as revealed by The Lawyer (27 September 2004).

LoanCheck deals directly with consumer complaints over mis-selling and over-charging on mortgages and other financial products.

It provides a forensic auditing service of loans and mortgages through its software and staff. The company now needs a panel of 15-20 law firms to handle claims arising from its audits.

Leading clinical negligence barrister David Wilby QC of Old Square Chambers has written an opinion for LoanCheck, which concluded: “This is a vast area of potential litigation where, just like endowment mis-selling and the credit hire litigation, those who are aware of the litigation permutations are in a prime position to assist those who have suffered at the hands of those who are less scrupulous.”