Our Portfolio is a range of case types we have identified that can benefit from the services provided by Lawthority and where the case type is good for our business.
We are looking for cases where a more client-centric approach can be applied, where there is a sizeable market, where the needs of the client are not currently being met and cases which have both a compelling business as well as legal case.
They are types of cases where the implementation of new systems, processes and technology will not only enhance the client experience but also make for a more profitable business model for law firms.
Once the business model is developed, we then match the case type to one of a panel of approved law firms identified for their ability to operate a particular or range of case types.
Current and planned case types include:
We have recovered more than £200,000 and identified another 2,200 cases with a total claim value of over £4.6 million. We now have the systems and the technology to identify in excess of 300 additional infringements a month.
The typical claimant/client is a business which uses images to promote their work online and have had their images stolen by other businesses. Our systems and technology can identify the originator of the image as well as the defendants (most claims have multiple defendants). As well as our typical client type, we have been engaged by one of the world’s leading celebrity photo agencies with a library of over 20,000,000 images which they have asked us to protect. Due to our early success, they are keen for us to pursue International defendants.
Housing disrepair cases arise in circumstances where landlords have not carried out their maintenance obligations on behalf of tenants. This is an area of law with established precedent and process.
Our interest in this area of law arises from the opportunity to improve process efficiency by the use of technology. By enabling solicitors, surveyors and barristers to communicate in better or faster ways, cases can be run in a more profitable manner.
These cases involve situations where a financial investment product is mis-sold by a bank or other financial institution.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”), the advice investors receive should be “clear, fair and not misleading”, and “suitable for the client’s investment objectives”. But in many cases, the opposite has turned out to be true – and the advice has been neither transparent nor consistent with customers’ needs.
If the advice was negligent or in breach of FCA rules, the investor may be able to claim for losses suffered as a result of that advice.
Pay Day Loans
The pay day loan market expanded rapidly in the aftermath of the last financial crash. According to Swift Money, 40 million pay day loans were issued between 2008 and 2012. In many cases loans were rolled forward without appropriate checks on affordability for the client. Tougher regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority in recent years has led to loan providers settling a large volume of claims as can be seen with the recent decision of Wonga to go into administration. We see an opportunity over the next 18 months for claims to be issued at high volume before the market is saturated. Claims can be issued on the lender in the first instance and then sent to the Financial Ombudsman’s Service in case of dispute.
Packaged Bank Accounts
According to the FCA there are 9 million people in the UK with packaged bank accounts. These are accounts where a (sometimes substantial) monthly fee is charged in return for services that are “packaged” with the account. While many are appropriate, in some cases the bank did not properly assess if they represented value for money and in many cases the benefits are not used by the client. We see this as a useful part of our portfolio due to the quick settlement period with many banks.
At times consumer companies and lenders offer products and services to the public where the benefits are exaggerated or misrepresented. Products of a high purchase value such as solar panel installations, timeshares, holiday clubs or kitchen installations are sometimes mis-sold. The products are invariably sold by means of a standard sales presentation where clients are invited to attend demonstrations or sales representatives visit the client at home. In some cases, the product may be substandard or not fit for purpose. The sale is made directly with the consumer, decisions are made ‘on the spot’ and sales are often made by using aggressive, unethical and unlawful selling practices that breach UK consumer laws and statutes.
For instance, many solar panel installation companies sell solar panels with the promise that the cost of the finance for purchasing the installation will be recovered by the income generated from feeding electricity back to the National Grid.
Further, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, the consumer also has the right of redress against their credit card or finance provider, should something go wrong with goods or services purchased using a credit card or finance agreement.
Section 140A of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 also protects consumers against unscrupulous practices by lenders, known as the ‘Unfair Relationship’ test, and enables Courts to intervene where they find unfair practices were involved.
The process of a company enlarging or varying its range of products or field of operation: Lawthority’s diversification of case types provides an excellent basis for risk management to both investors and to the law firms.