Billions stashed in offshore funds by losing litigants, according to new study

A survey of some of the UK’s top litigation lawyers has revealed that billions of pounds may have been lost through unenforced awards after cases conclude.

More than 200 private practice solicitors, in-house counsel and corporate executives took part in the study carried out by litigation funder, Burford Capital, which found that their clients had lost millions of pounds through unenforced judgments and arbitration.

The research discovered that around a fifth of respondents had clients whose unenforced judgments added up to between £7 million and £35 million in the past five years, while a further 14 per cent valued their clients’ losses at more than £35 million.

Regions most likely to prevent firms from securing judgment awards were identified as Russia, the Caribbean and Asia.

The study also revealed that an astonishing 86 per cent of private practice lawyers had clients in the last five years who had not been paid in full, following a successful litigation, arbitration judgment or award.

“If one were to add up the lost value to companies around the world when they cannot enforce judgments, the collective sum would be billions,” said Christopher Bogart, chief executive of Burford Capital.

According to the study, parties are often spending millions in legal fees and taking several years to recover damages owed.

Failing to secure the full amount after a judgement or award can reflect badly on a practice and lead to a future loss of income.