Demographics and the
UK Marketplace

When ATE was first written in the UK and for what claim type

In 1999, the Access to Justice Act was bought into force. The Act bought about huge change in the legal landscape, and was intended to offer an alternative to the traditional way of funding litigation, which up to that point, had been Legal Aid. The Act did 3 main things;

  1. It introduced the use of 'Conditional Fee Agreements', or 'no win no fee' agreements in most civil court cases.
  2. It replaced the Legal Aid Board with 2 new schemes. The Criminal Defence Service for criminal cases, and Community Legal Service to fund civil and family cases.
  3. The Act created a limit on the amount spent on Legal Aid.

The Act also introduced After the Event Insurance or ATE Insurance. Many people often mistakenly think that a 'No Win No Fee' agreement means that they do not have to pay any legal fees, regardless of the outcome of the case. This is incorrect. The 'No Win No Fee' Agreement itself is simply an agreement between a client and their Solicitor, which states that if they lose their case, they will not have to pay their Solicitors Legal fees. However at that time, it was likely that if you lost your case, you would be responsible for the legal costs of the Defendant, which could run into thousands of pounds. The Access to Justice Act allowed client's to insure against the risk of having to pay the Defendant's costs, should their case be unsuccessful, with an ATE insurance policy. At that time, the cost of an ATE insurance premium was recoverable from the Defendant as part of the client's legal costs. And so the market for After the Event Insurance was born.

The market in legal expenses insurance, including Before the Event ('BTE') insurance and After the Event ('ATE') insurance, has grown substantially in the UK in recent years. The market grew by in 2009, the latest year for which figures are available, with a combined premium income of E654 million (E583 million). This still represents only a small fraction (less than 2%) of the total non-life insurance market, although on average the legal expenses insurance sector has grown faster than the insurance market as a whole.

Key to our ATE product is the protective measures put in place ultimately securing the Loan Note which provides the Solicitor funding with the insurance providing the additional protection.

Previous litigation funders in this sector saw Solicitors directly funded with no coverage or protection in place along with cases being funded at the outset, substantially increasing the risk. Woodville ATE enters the process much later and only at the point where the insurance certificate is attached to the case. Blame has been apportioned and due diligence has already been completed on the validity of the case in question. This negates much of the early risk often associated with the claims industry. We only fund on a case by case basis.