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Legal Review of 2009

January 2010
Beale and Company

Our Legal Review of 2009 looks back on some significant cases involving professional firms. Commentators predicted a deluge of claims in 2009 arising from the financial and economic downturn. Whilst there were undoubtedly some cases in 2009 driven by the downturn, the predicted rise in claims did not come to pass.

Looking forward we see legal costs being a significant battleground in 2010. The use of litigation funding may well mean more claims but we predict a heightened use of cost protective offers and creative settlement initiatives to promote early settlement of disputes. The impact of Mr Justice Jackson's recently published review of litigation costs will, we believe, lead to a greater emphasis on resolving disputes pre-action and, where there is litigation, the Courts taking a greater role in controlling costs and better management of larger commercial litigation. It remains to be seen if and when the recommendations will be implemented.

The challenging times ahead will see increasing pressures and new areas of risk for all professions as the spotlight is turned on ‘the advisors'. Interest rate rises and a growth in repossessions, most probably following the election, will no doubt fuel such claims. It goes without saying that those with effective risk controls and risk management in place will fare best.

We hope you find our review of the last year useful.

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