Information for Solicitors

Lime Finance provides an overall firm wide facility to solicitors, under which we extend loans to your clients to enable them to pay your fees and disbursements. 

Whilst we reserve the right to consider every client loan application individually, we are guided by you as you apply your firm’s overall facility across your client base.

The facility is appropriate when a minimum settlement can be reasonably assessed and the client lacks the necessary cashflow to fund the action.  Generally, this is matrimonial actions, probate cases and personal injury or medical negligence claims.

Each nominated client completes a loan agreement with Lime Finance and pays the monthly interest charges.  In some cases, interest payments can be rolled up into the loan for up to 2 years or your firm can pay the interest charges on behalf of the client.

At the end of the legal action, or at the end of the loan term, the client must repay the loan.  This period can be extended in exceptional circumstances.

The loan can only be used to pay your fees / disbursements and payments are only made to your firm’s bank account.  You have access to all your client’s loan accounts via our secure website and can initiate draw-downs at any time, up to the agreed limit.

CFA Cases - Disbursement Finance

For Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence cases, we can offer an extended loan term of 4 years and the option to roll up interest into the loan for an extended period.  We lend 100% of the disbursements.

When ATE or BTE insurance is in place, this can be used to repay the loan if the case is unsuccesful.  ATE can also cover the loan interest charges (subject to the agreed terms of your insurer).

Client disbursement loan costs can be claimed back from the defendant if the case is successful.  Precedent defines a reasonable claim as the commercial interest rate available to the client.

(Citation [2013] EWHC 1023 (QB) in the High Court of Justice dated 3rd May 2013 between Jeffrey Jones & Others and The Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change & Coal Products Ltd).  This case was upheld on appeal.  Further to the Jones Case, Angela Powell v Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, Court No OSY02236 (01.04.2016) an order was made where the defendant conceded the validity of a Lime Finance agreement and the recovery of interest charges.

Probate Cases

We lend to cover your professional fees, probate fees / other disbursements and inheritance tax (which is now payable in advance before probate is granted).  We cover contested and non contested cases.

Family Cases

We lend for divorce, civil partnerships and trusts of land cases where there is a financial settlement.

Benefits for Solicitors:

  • Prompt payment of all invoices and disbursements via client based funding
  • Competitive advantage against other firms
  • A firm wide facility that you can control and distribute across your clients
  • Online access to all your client’s loan accounts to make drawdowns at any time
  • Old and new debts can be covered by the facility
  • No non-utilisation fees
  • Minimum bureaucracy
  • If ATE insurance is in place, this can be used to repay the loan

All loans are underwritten by your firm but remain off balance sheet

Security is required in the form of a solicitor's guarantee and a client undertaking to their solicitor to pay the loan balance from the proceeds of their case.

For further information or to apply for a facility please contact us or send an email to info@lime-finance.com.  Lime Finance will then work towards a long term partnership.

Costs / Interest Rates

Follow this link for our costs factsheet which covers all our current interest rates and fees.

Regulation

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates all consumer credit.  There is a statutory exception for solicitors, (Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 - Part XX Provision of Financial Services by Members of the Professions), under which solicitors do not need to be authorised or regulated by the FCA provided certain conditions are met.  The conditions are set out in section 327 of the act and in the supplementary SRA rules effective from 1st April 2016.  The SRA rules make it clear that the statutory exception applies to solicitors brokering credit to pay relevant fees and / or disbursements, provided that the solicitor does not charge the client a fee for credit broking and that the solicitor does not receive any reward from the credit provider for which he does not account to the client.

We anticipate that the majority of Lime Finance legal firms will rely on the statutory exception.  Your firm may already be relying on the same statutory exception in relation to the provision of ATE insurance or other financial products to clients.

However, if you undertake any consumer credit activities that fall outside the exception, then you must be regulated by the FCA.

Please Note:  This note is for information purposes only.  It is your responsibility to obtain all requisite approvals and Lime Finance does not provide any advice on whether or not exemption or other matter applies to you.  You will be required to demonstrate to us that you are either (a) suitably authorised or (b) exempt from authorisation.

For further information or to apply for a facility please contact us or send an email  to info@lime-finance.com.  Lime Finance will then work towards a long term partnership.