Australia: Norton Rose Fulbright releases 2016 Litigation Trends Annual Survey
Last Updated: 20 September 2016

Twelfth edition introduces litigation minimization framework and expenditure benchmarking tools

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright today released its 2016 Litigation Trends Annual Survey. This year's survey polled more than 600 corporate counsel representing companies across 24 countries on disputes-related issues and concerns. Survey respondents – primarily general counsel – indicate an upward trend in virtually all of the metrics relating to litigation and the broader disputes area.

Gerry Pecht, Norton Rose Fulbright's Global Head of Dispute Resolution and Litigation, said:

"We see the trend of businesses becoming more proactive in how they assess and control litigation exposure. As a result, this year's survey introduces a litigation minimization framework as well as expenditure benchmarking tools. We have launched these as a way to assist in-house counsel with litigation management."

The survey report's litigation minimization framework comes as a result of reviewing and collating successful measures taken by companies facing disputes. This practical tool is adaptable to suit a company's specific situation, allowing in-house counsel to review their current approach and implement measures to reduce litigation risk and costs.

In addition, a detailed analysis of litigation expenditure data collected in this survey, not surprisingly, reveals a correlation between a company's revenue and its litigation spending. The median average proportion of litigation spending stands at one tenth of one percent (0.1%) of total revenue. This year's survey report includes a table which gives in-house counsel the opportunity to benchmark its own litigation spend against a closer peer group, broken down by annual revenue, region and industry sector.

An expansive report detailing Norton Rose Fulbright's 2016 Litigation Trends Annual Survey can be found at www.litigationtrends.com. Highlights of the report include:

  • The trend of respondents expecting a rise in litigation continued from recent years, as 24 percent believe the volume of disputes will increase in the year ahead versus only 13 percent anticipating a decrease.
  • Companies who had no lawsuits commenced against them decreased from 25 percent to 19 percent over the last 12 months, with 81 percent of respondents being sued in the past year.
  • Respondents who needed to conduct any type of cross-border discovery increased from 35 percent to 41 percent this past year. Those needing to conduct cross-border discovery in more than half of their matters doubled from 7 percent to 14 percent.
  • Companies not facing any regulatory proceedings showed little change from last year at 66 percent. However, 97 percent of respondents perceived regulators to be more interventionist during the last 12 months.
  • Litigation related to contracts stood as both the most numerous at 40 percent and the top concern for respondents at 42 percent.
  • Alternative fee arrangements were used by 60 percent of respondents, with 97 percent of them satisfied with the work from an AFA, citing better control, greater efficiency and more certainty.

The 12th edition of Norton Rose Fulbright's Litigation Trends Annual Survey was conducted by Acritas, a global legal services market business research firm. Introduced in 2004, this is the largest survey of corporate counsel on litigation issues and trends, with 606 respondents across numerous jurisdictions (including the United States, United Kingdom and Europe, Australia, Canada and Asia) from a wide range of industry sectors.

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