Jessica Fino 12 Feb 2018 03:50pm

FTSE 100 companies see litigation cases drop by 26%

The number of FTSE 100 companies involved in High Court cases fell last year, with financial services firms still accounting for 71% of all the cases

According to Thomson Reuters, the number of litigations among the FTSE 100 fell by 26% to 206 in 2016/17, as disputes resulting from the financial crisis started to fade.

Companies in the financial services accounted for the majority of cases, but litigation involving them was down by 25% to 146.

The report said the big percentage of financial services companies facing court cases reflected how many banks are still involved in financial crisis-era cases related to the mis-selling of interest rate swaps and hedging products.

Even though the number of cases has been declining, the UK largest businesses are still putting aside billions of pounds to cover legal claims.

Thomson Reuters revealed last month that FTSE 100 companies had to save £26.2bn over the last year in order to pay litigation costs, regulatory fines and compensation, with banks accounting for more than half of the total litigation provisions (£14.6bn).

The mass media company said that big businesses are now facing a growing trend for group actions in the UK courts.

Raichel Hopkinson, head of practical law dispute resolution at Thomson Reuters, said, “Major corporates, especially banks, finally have a pause to draw breath after a decade fighting off credit crunch era lawsuits.”

“However, this could be short-lived respite. Big businesses may now have to brace themselves for the possibility of a rise in class actions financed by the growing pot of third party litigation funding. Litigation funders are keen to deploy the capital offered to them and this may lead to more disputes being pursued.”

Hopkinson also pointed out the new GDPR rules could lead to new claims if companies fail to meet their new obligations.