Litigation - a Classic Year in the Courts? Paul Bennett of Grant Thornton's Forensic and Investigation Services Team in Birmingham Looks at Litigation Trends for 2011

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Bennett

An article in The Lawyer magazine last month stated that 2011 "promises to be a classic year in the courts" and detailed the 20 top cases to look out for.

Whilst litigation has always tended to increase in times of economic downturn, for many dispute resolution lawyers the predicted boom has not yet materialised.

Is the tide of litigation now turning? Our experience is that over the past couple of years, corporate litigation spend has been parked as directors sought simply to stabilise their businesses and consolidate. But it appears that the litigation spend tap may now slowly be opening. The UK economy continues to face uncertain times and it will not be plain sailing, yet this appears to be good news for the litigation lawyer. It may be that his time has come.

We have seen a particular increase in the number of cases that are being litigated in the following areas: Professional negligence claims - this is largely due to the 'deep pocket syndrome' suffered by professional advisors. Accountants, surveyors and lawyers alike are facing increasing numbers of claims as clients seek to recover their losses.

Contract disputes - unprofitable contracts are coming under intense scrutiny as directors seek to vary or exit the worst. Furthermore, as bank lending facilities are renewed or revised, disputes are developing here too.

Fraud - Warren Buffett's now-famous quote "it's only when the tide goes out that you can see who has been swimming without their trunks" neatly summarises the increasing number of frauds that have been revealed. …