An Investment News article recently reported that a former Barclays financial advisor participated in a FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitration where it was decided that he must repay the firm $3.25 million.
This is part of the signing bonus he was paid when he was hired by Barclays. The deal was $928,571 per year for seven years. Barclays was seeking to recoup $4.6 million in the arbitration after terminating his employment.
It is unusual for arbitration results to be disclosed to the public. Typically a benefit of using arbitration rather than litigation is that it can remain confidential. But since FINRA is a regulatory body for the securities industry, their rules state that all of their awards are made publicly available.
This article can be read in full on the Investment News website.
In 2008 the Chief Justice of Canada, The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., convened an Action Committee on Access to Justice. The Action Committee recently released its final report that proposes a profound shift in the way courts, lawyers and litigants operate. Many of the recommendations are applicable to the justice system in the United States.
Here are some highlights of the report:
The cost of civil and family matters varies significantly. Nationally, costs of litigation based on legal fees are recently reported to be $13,561 – $37,229 for a civil action up to and including 2-day trial, $23,083 – $79,750 for a civil action up to and including a 5-day trial, $38,296 – $124,574 for a civil action up to and including a 7-day trial, and $12,333 – $36,750 for a civil action appeal.
Nearly 35% of the population will experience at least 1 legal problem in a given 3 year period. Few will have the resources to solve them. Of those who do not seek legal assistance, recent reports indicate that between 42% and 90% identified cost — or at least perceived cost — as the reason for not doing so.
According to one recent American study, as much as 70%- 90% of legal needs in society go unmet. There is a major gap between what legal services cost and what the vast majority of people can afford. Most people earn too much money to qualify for legal aid, but too little to afford the legal services necessary to meaningfully address any significant legal problem.
The civil and family justice system is too complex, too slow and too expensive. It is too often incapable of producing just outcomes that are proportional to the problems brought to it or reflective of the needs of the people it is meant to serve.
The full report can be found on the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice’s website.
This NBC video explains how dire the situation has become in some courts where budget cuts have led to layoffs resulting in long lines to file court document and even longer backlogs. Although this report focuses on California courts, the situation in most other states is similar. Judges worry that the problem could get worse, delaying and possibly even denying justice for many.
An NBC Investigative Unit has found that thousands of Californians must wait up to four times as long as normal to have their day in court. Some residents now wait five years or longer to have their civil complaints heard by a judge.
Presiding Judge Robert Foiles said that backlogs have reached a crisis point in many courts. This affects tens of thousands of people including those who need to file a small claim, get a divorce or settle a landlord tenant dispute.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote this week in his 2013 year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary that the budget cuts that went into effect in March reduced judiciary funding by 5 percent, or nearly $350 million. The Chief Justice said that these reductions have created widespread delays in civil and bankruptcy cases and over time these delays will give rise to “commercial uncertainty, lost opportunities and unvindicated rights.”
The full story can be read in the New York Times online.
The National Center for State Courts released a study this year estimating the litigation costs of various types of civil cases in the U.S.. The model used to estimate costs relied on survey results from attorneys of the time expended to resolve typical types of disputes litigated and their billing rates. The graph below presents the median costs of litigation by case type in the U.S.:
Median Costs of Litigation by Case Type