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Billions lost through unenforced awards, say lawyers

6th Jul 2016

A survey conducted in conjunction with the Lawyer Research Service has revealed that litigation lawyers have said that billions of pounds are lost through unenforced awards after cases conclude.

A survey of more than 200 private practice lawyers, in-house counsel, and corporate executives found that unenforced judgments and arbitration had cost their clients millions of pounds. The study, carried out by litigation funder Burford Capital, found 86% of private practice lawyers have clients who in the last five years have not been paid the full value of a successful litigation or arbitration judgment or award.

Almost one in five respondents said their clients’ unenforced judgments added up to between £7m and £35m in the past five years, whilst 14% of lawyers valued clients’ losses at more than £35m. As well as this, 58% of corporate executives surveyed confirmed their companies have not been paid the full value of litigation and arbitration judgments in the past five years.

The majority of lawyers said the prime reason awards could not be satisfied was because debtors’ assets were hidden offshore; Regions most likely to put up barriers to securing judgment awards were identified as Russia, the Caribbean and Asia.

The survey also found parties are often spending millions in legal fees – and taking several years – to recover damages owed to them.