LASPO extension—relief for insolvency practitioners

LASPO extension—relief for insolvency practitioners

Does the extension of the temporary exemption allowing no win no fee agreements for insolvency proceedings give hope for a future permanent exemption? Frances Coulson, head of insolvency litigation  at Moon Beever and former president of R3, offers her thoughts on this latest development.

Original news

Further delay in implementing LASPO insolvency reforms

‘No win no fee' agreements in insolvency proceedings will continue to operate on the same basis as before the coming into force of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO 2012) for the time being, with any conditional fee agreement success fees and after the event insurance (ATE) premiums remaining recoverable from the losing party. A Written Statement by the Minister of State for Civil Justice and Legal Policy on 26 February 2015 says more time is needed for insolvency practitioners to prepare for to the changes.

What does the government statement today actually mean, in your view?

We are hopeful this means the government will agree to a permanent exemption in the long run as this announcement indicates the government have accepted the logic of the argument. However, the insolvency community should continue lobbying on this issue.

What does this mean for insolvency litigators and insolvency practitioners in practice?

This announcement raises two issues:

  • it assists in keeping (in particular smaller) cases going that would be unfeasible without the exemption
  • while the temporary exemption is to be welcomed, it won’t be enough to settle the market

The challenge of how to approach ATE premiums remains. However, there are things that can be done to limit ATE premiums. For example, the profession could look at its collective negotiating power as a whole to perhaps limit costs.

It is fair to

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About the author:

Stephen qualified as a solicitor in 2005 and joined the Restructuring and Insolvency team at Lexis®PSL in September 2014 from Shoosmiths LLP, where he was a senior associate in the restructuring and insolvency team.

Primarily focused on contentious and advisory corporate and personal insolvency work, Stephen’s experience includes acting for office-holders on a wide range of issues, including appointments, investigations and the recovery and realisation of assets (including antecedent transaction claims), and for creditors in respect of the impact on them of the insolvency of debtors and counterparties.