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There are two types of legal expenses insurance: before the event (“BTE”), and after the event (“ATE”).

BTE is usually an additional benefit found in a policy that covers another risk, such as a home or building policy. The cost is usually fairly modest and the amount of cover provided is typically £50,000 or £100,000. Cover will be subject to conditions. A party to a dispute or potential dispute should find out if he has BTE cover as soon as possible. Delay may be prejudicial.

ATE can cover a number of risks but the most common is the risk of being ordered to pay an opponent’s costs, or adverse costs. A successful litigant used to be able to claim his ATE premium from his opponent but as a result of a change in the law this is no longer possible. However, it may still be possible to defer payment of the premium until the end of the case and to make payment conditional on the success of a claim or defence.

We can advise on funding arrangements and we have access to ATE insurers and third party funders.