Apologies for the hiatus.
2015 predictions are all the rage, and I lack the originality to come up with something different.
Without further delay:
1. Cost budgeting
The lower-end multi track will have fixed costs brought into effect.
Rumour is £250k, but maybe it will be less (say £100k?).
There is a general frustration when £40k claims are listed for costs and case management conferences that take up 90 minutes.
2. ATE funding changes
The return that ATE funders seek is in the region of 16-17 times the risk they accept.
People do not want to pay this level of premium out of their costs and damages. They will therefore come up with a cheaper product and a mass marketing scheme to deliver this.
3. The Coventry litigation
There is no chance of the senior court deciding that the government has to pay defendant insurers millions of pounds in rebates for allowing success fee uplifts.
Look forward to a beautifully worded judgment.
4. Damages Based Agreements
They will finally be amended for wider use.
It makes little sense to disallow a sophisticated consumer, such as a large bank or insurer, to enter into an agreement with their solicitors where a damages based agreement can be used.
On the lower end of the market, this is more difficult. The fine balance between “access to justice” and protection of a lay client means that I see the commercial clients leading the way with DBA’s.
5. A new portal
Expect to see something else enter a portal. I don’t want to say more than this in the event what I have been told is nonsense!
6. The next Halliwells
Mark my words, another large firm will go under.
Do not expect a forced merger, there will be asset stripping and the death of a fairly large top 25 firm.
Either the taxman or creditors will be the real reason. The excuse rolled out in the PR statement will blame the legal marketplace changes.
7. MLRO officers taking on even more control
The anti money laundering officers at some international firms are getting nervous as they are an unpaid state agent and expected to spot everything. The pressure upon them will only increase.
This is not a good thing with the increase in bad people around the world who are intent on death and destruction.
8. The Family Courts will fight back
There are some very strong judges in the family court.
Expect them to increasingly make orders from public funds to allow litigants access to Counsel or solicitors. Equality of arms will be a big thing this year. Legal aid cuts will gain more exposure from this court.
9. There will finally be a report on Alan Blacker
You know, the ‘Harry Potter’ chap with the badges, whose representation in a trial led to numerous articles and forum postings.
Will be interesting reading.
10. Chelsea will win the Premiership
But fall short in the Champions League
Over and out.