Democratising Divorce: Litigation Funding & Access to Justice

By Isabel Agudo (Junior Associate) and Adam Paterson (Senior Associate)

Power imbalances are common during divorce proceedings. They could manifest through one party’s more assertive personality type or perhaps as a result of the different roles that each party has fulfilled in the marriage.

One power imbalance, however, can be easily remedied with the assistance of specialist litigation lending: the uneven financial circumstances of divorcees.

Access to Justice

Litigation finance can (amongst other things) be used to provide the financially weaker spouse access to capital, allowing them to cover the expenses of various stages of legal proceedings they otherwise are not able to fund themselves. This is crucial: a lack of specialist advice at the right time not only increases stress and uncertainty; it can have a severely detrimental impact on the financial outcome for the affected party.

Where one party does not have access to capital, there can be asymmetry between each party’s legal representation. That inevitably creates significant inequality in litigation and negotiation. An appropriate loan corrects this imbalance by putting parties on equal footing to fund legal representation.

The risks and burdens of navigating divorce litigation and negotiations should not fall disproportionately on one party, just because they are not yet in possession of the capital with which to fund proceedings. Without the help of a loan, many might feel prematurely defeated, potentially causing them to settle for less than the amount they are entitled to or simply not to engage at all, feeling completely overwhelmed.

Reaching Agreements

It isn’t just about Court proceedings either. Negotiations where one party cannot afford representation are very unlikely to give rise to settlement. Both parties need to feel empowered to reach agreement and, more often than not, that means both parties feeling that they have equality of knowledge and negotiating power – i.e. an expert lawyer. A loan can create an environment where settlement can be reached not just give both parties the means to fight in Court.

Empowering the Client

A litigation loan is an important tool to facilitate justice in litigation and negotiations. Both spouses should have the opportunity to properly put forward their side of the case, understand the outcomes and understand what they are entitled to. A litigation loan in suitable circumstances can unlock justice for the client.

If you would like further information about how a litigation loan could help you or a client, please visit our “Services” page or send any enquiries to info@schneiderfs.com, or call us on 020 3848 7260