We are looking for case types 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 which have a compelling business and legal basis.
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 experience and ability to deal with the particular case type.
Current and planned case types
We have already recovered more than £200,000 and have identified another 2,200 cases of copyright infringement 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 also offer our services to photo agencies and individual photographers.
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 and faster ways, cases can be run in a more profitable manner.
The ‘old’ perception of the law regarding financial loan agreements was that it was typically lenders who sued borrowers for breach of the agreements, usually for payment of arrears. However, this perception has now shifted, with customers becoming increasingly aware of their rights to claim against financial institutions for breaches such as overcharging interest and fees on mortgages.
If customers have been sold mortgages to buy their house from their local authority landlord, to consolidate debt or invest in another property, where the affordability of the mortgage at the time it was sold or in the future was not considered, or where the mortgage was on an ‘interest-only’ basis, there may be grounds for a claim because of breach of the FCA’s principles of fairness and suitability.
Courts now apply the ‘Unfair Relationship Test’ to credit agreements, which allows them to look at all aspects of the relationship between the parties. This includes commissions paid, for example, to a mortgage broker by a lender, which were not disclosed to the borrower and/or were unfair because of their amount.
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.
Investment products must also be sold according to the FCA’s principles of fairness and suitability and, if breaches occur, there may be grounds for a claim.
These cases involve situations where there are irregularities with a financial product sold by a bank or other financial institution.
According to the Financial Conduct Authority (‘FCA), the advice customers receive should be “clear, fair and not misleading”, and “suitable for the client’s 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.
We are currently dealing with the following case types involving financial irregularities: