Litigation funding has been permitted in the UK since 1967, and in insolvency matters since the late nineteenth century.
The common law of champerty and maintenance does not apply to third party funding in the UK and so there are no restrictions on funders in the UK to provide funding for litigation.
However, it is only in the last 10 years that we have seen its growing acceptance as part of the litigation landscape. The Jackson reforms of English commercial litigation in 2013, which reviewed litigation funding in England and Wales, encouraged widespread recognition that litigation funding promotes access to justice by enabling litigants to manage their exposure to costs.
Code of Conduct
A Code of Conduct for Litigation Funders, to which Harbour was instrumental, was launched in 2011 and sets out the standards of best practice and behaviour for litigation funders in the UK.
The Code of Conduct provides transparency to claimants and their solicitors. It requires litigation funders to provide satisfactory answers to certain key questions before entering into relationships with claimants. Under the Code, litigation funders are required to give assurances to claimants that, among other things, the litigation funder will not try to take control of the litigation, the litigation funder has the money to pay for the costs of the funded litigation and the litigation funder will not terminate funding absent a material adverse development.
The Code has been approved by Lord Justice Jackson commended by the Chair of the Civil Justice Council, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, the Master of the Rolls.
Following the introduction of the Code, the regulatory body responsible for litigation funding and ensuring compliance with the Code was established, namely the Association of Litigation Funders (ALF). The members of ALF have adopted the Code and undertake to comply at all times with it.