If the risks of litigation were equivalent to the risks of betting on this year’s Aintree Grand National, with Mon Mome winning at 100/1 nobody would dream of going to court. Luckily, the risks are lower, or can be made to be lower.
Nevertheless, the risks are high, given the unavoidable costs. Those costs are particularly high in Ireland. We have a Criminal legal aid scheme which works reasonably well; we have a Legal Aid Board which directs funding, essentially, to Family Law litigants.
And that’s it.
Neither the Government nor the Rules Committee of the Superior Courts have ever shown the slightest interest in facilitating litigation. In fact, the Government has positively legislated to obstruct and undermine personal litigants (as opposed to corporate litigants) from vindicating attacks on their rights or entitlements.
In the UK, if lawyers agree to work for a litigant, conditional on winning to get paid, they are, in law, entitled to get paid a premium on their fees for taking the chance of not getting paid. These agreements are known as Conditional Fee Agreements. In Ireland, such an agreement would be probably illegal and would possibly result in a failure to recover any fees for the lawyer party to the agreement.
Again, in Ireland, the torts of maintenance and champerty are still alive and kicking. Consequently, we are falling further and further behind the UK in many issues relating to legal profession and the practice of law.
See HERE for news from the UK of the timely development of investment opportunities in litigation.
Litigation, whether personal or corporate, is so expensive it behooves a litigant to take whatever steps are available to offset the risks. In the UK, that is now possible.
We, with our Government, will wait a long time for progressive social-minded policies in this area.