Assets are often illiquid or held in just one party’s name, creating an imbalance in the level of representation the parties can afford. Funding in financial remedy proceedings ensures equality of arms and supports the relationship between solicitor and client by removing the cash-flow headache.
During a contested set of financial proceedings, it is vital to have good legal advice available when it is needed. Delay can of itself cause an imbalance and unfairness in proceedings. Unfortunately, where assets are held in one party’s sole name or are illiquid (such as business interests), early unlocking of fees funding upfront can prove impossible.
Level aims to ‘level the playing field’ in litigation by providing funding to individuals who expect to receive a significant financial settlement at the conclusion of their legal proceedings but cannot access the funds to reach that point. Level acts to unlock some of the borrower’s future settlement early so that they can use this to pay their legal fees, disbursements and other living expenses until the end of the proceedings, when the loan and accrued interest will be deducted from the settlement before it is paid on to the client.
Some of the benefits are as follows:
Solicitors often find themselves engaged in protracted negotiations with the side that holds the purse strings in an attempt to get their fees paid. It can even lead to a full-blown court application. Both of these can generate material costs for both parties, with no guarantees of success for the applicant.
Even if you are successful in your negotiations or court applications, you certainly are not home and dry. Difficult behaviour from the other side, for instance drip feeding insufficient cash to meet bills or endless requests for line-by-line justification of your invoice, generates further back and forth between lawyers – driving up the legal costs, not to mention the acrimony, and distracting everyone from the main objective, which is to resolve the divorce fairly and efficiently. Upfront funding stops that battle.
A “fighting fund” can remove any imbalance in the level of legal representation the parties have and provides a level playing field. This means the economically stronger party has less leverage by which to control the litigation and will often result in the parties reaching a fair resolution more quickly – potentially cutting out further litigation and saving more time and money.
Level is one potential funding option and you should explore other options to ensure you choose the most suitable solution for you.