Litigation: Is Your Funder Legitimate?

Settling matters in court can be extremely costly, and no more so than for multi-national businesses. Both Apple and Google reportedly spent more money on legal fees in 2011 than on research & development, which, when you consider the innovative nature of their products, is staggering.

Third party funding is going from strength to strength as an industry, with the UK seeing a sharp increase in cases in recent years. In 2011, the number of UK funders almost doubled, with some funders reporting to have as much as quadrupled their annual litigation fund in the past year.

But, as with any industry attracting big business, there is a danger of illegitimate parties sullying the marketplace.

Is litigation funding safe?

Litigation funding is generally regarded as a risk-free way for businesses to acquire sufficient funds to bring a case to court.

Litigation funding is basically a three-way agreement between funder, solicitor and client. When a client requires legal advice, they should firstly approach a solicitor. Under their code of conduct, solicitors must inform their client of all the available avenues by which to fund their case. This includes payment of the legal fees, so therefore it’s in the best interests of both the client and solicitor to select a funder who is reliable.

Spotting an illegitimate litigation funder

In third party funding funders invest their own capital in a case and put themselves at risk of losing out. Because of the uncertain nature of the business, the reward to the funder when a case is won can be extremely high, and to an illegitimate funding company, who don’t control the funds they’re putting forward anyway, third party funding presents an opportunity for them to come out on top.

Illegitimate funders are usually so named for one of two reasons:

1. The finances that they have committed to the claim aren’t actually available to them; i.e. the funder is actually a broker or middleman.
2. The company represents itself as having sufficient funds, but runs out of money before the conclusion of the case.

Where legitimate funders ensure that the resource required for a case is readily available, illegitimate funders will work the other way round, sourcing a potential client and then working out how they can raise the funds. Aside from the glaring issue of the funds therefore being unsecured, it can also mean that the litigation process is delayed.

How is litigation funding regulated?

The Association of Litigation Funders (ALF) has recently established a code of conduct. If a funder has signed up to the code, then:
1. They have accepted what is referred to as ‘capital adequacy requirements’, and are therefore obligated to have secured the required resources to cover a case for a minimum period of 36 months.
2. They have accepted that they cannot terminate any agreement that they hold with their client without a strong legal reason
3. They have accepted that they cannot unduly interfere with case proceedings

There are reliable and reputable funding companies out there, and the best advice for ensuring that you select a reputable one is to research.

This article was provided by Laura Moulden on behalf of Vannin Capital, visit the website for advice on Legal Funding.

New trends: Recycling Aluminum

In a past couple of years aluminum (or aluminium) recycling is very popular, and it’s fast growing recycling based industry. Beside beneficial for the earth, it is also good for all kind of business and community. Progress and recent discoveries have made the process much faster, very efficient, and much easier than in the past years, that you can save a lot of energy, money and time, which is crucial in taking your business up, and still be green.

If your business is dealing with a lot of used old aluminum, start looking for a recycling company closest to you, with a lot of experience working with both small and large businesses. It is very important that the company you chose can handle anything from aluminum cans to larger things, such as car components, old machines or similar staff. The only thing is that you make a fair deal, which helps your business to grow.


Aluminum have high market value compared to other metals, that is the reason aluminum industry spend over $750 million dollars for empty aluminum cans from consumers. Bottom line is that every dime counts, and that even a small return can easily add up over time. For big concerns and larger companies recycling aluminum waste has big impact to global revenue, and their profit margin is always rising for that matter.

The Pros and Cons of Log Homes

Log homes can be found throughout the world, although they are especially prevalent in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia and the USA, where timber is one of the main building supplied available.

They fell out of popularity with the introduction of more modern building methods, but are now back by popular demand. In the UK, living in a log home could come with many money saving advantages, which is why so many people are choosing to live in them nowadays.

If you’re weighing up your options, consider these pros and cons:


Energy saving properties

If you’re conscious of your carbon footprint, living in a log home could help to diminish your energy usage by a fair amount. This is thanks to timber’s thermal mass, which accounts for the wood’s ability to store and release heat throughout the day and night.

Timber has a high thermal mass, meaning your home can be kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter without you having to rely so heavily on air conditioning units and central heating.

Log Homes

Attractive appearance

Log homes can be very aesthetically pleasing, especially if you live in the countryside. Even if you live in the city centre or in a town, you can have a log home constructed that will fit in with the surrounding structures and buildings though.

Durable construction

Buildings made from timber can be incredibly durable, and wooden buildings such as this are able to absorb ground movements without the entire structure being compromised.

Cost effective

Wooden homes and especially flat pack houses can be very cost effective, so those looking to save money on their dream home construction won’t have to break the bank.


Pest problems

If you don’t keep an eye on your home, you might find that it becomes a breeding ground for certain kinds of insects. However, this can be said of many other building types and can be effectively managed with some care and attention.

Building issues

Just as with homes built with bricks and mortar, the materials can be weakened by exposure to the elements. Log homes can sometimes be susceptible to rot, especially when water is allowed to run down the side of the building or pool at the base of the property due to inadequate roof flashing or drainage. As long as the property is checked yearly things can be kept in order though.

General upkeep

While log homes are fairly low maintenance, they do require some work every now and then. For example, you may need to apply timber preservatives to the logs to keep them in good condition.

Living in a log home can provide you with some amazing experiences, and as they can be quite cheap to purchase and construct when compared to other options they could be the ideal solution.

This article was provided by Lauren Grice on behalf of Flat Pack Houses, a provider of Scandinavian flat pack houses.

How does inflation affect contractors?

The UK’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) increased to 3.1% from 3% in December, meaning the country is currently off target. The target was set at 2.3% in June 2012, but to date the country has failed to achieve this. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) is also missing the target of 2%, as it has held at 2.7% for some months now.

If you are a freelancer, you might wonder just how these percentages will affect you. Changes in inflation are never good, as it is always preferable to stay on target, but as you can see this hasn’t been achievable in these tough economic times

What is inflation?

Inflation refers to the increase in prices for goods and services within an economy. There are a number of reasons why prices may rise, including the cost-push, demand-pull and bad monetary policy inflation models.


Cost-push inflation

This happens when the cost of supplies increases. This may happen due to shortages, such as in the 1970s when fuel became scarce and therefore became more expensive.

Demand-pull inflation

This kind of inflation occurs when supply cannot meet demand. This means that if there is high demand for a certain product, but not enough products for everyone, the costs will increase as a result.

Bad monetary policy

If a bank produces too much money it then loses its value and this leads to inflation.

These inflation models can raise the CPI and RPI, which can affect contractors throughout the country.

How are contractors affected?

Both CPI and RPI can affect contractors, as it can cost them more to purchase products for their business and they then need to increase their own prices in order to recoup their costs.

Are there any upsides?

Absolutely – contractors often have the upper hand when inflation is concerned. This is because they don’t have to contend with the problems that fulltime employees do. Many people working within larger companies will lose out on pay increases due to inflation, whereas contractors can negotiate their own rates to get the money they need.

A lot of companies are also looking to employ contractors now rather, as it can help them to keep costs down. This of course works out wonderfully for freelancers, as they can now call in as many jobs as possible ensure they are working to maximum capacity.

Talk of inflation usually has negative connotations, but that isn’t always the case for freelancers. While many will certainly see some changes to their work as a result of inflation and recession, many others may find that their business flourishes as a result.

This article was provided by Aurora Johnson on behalf of Nixon Williams, a contract accountant with many different services for freelancers including a take home pay calculator that is free to use.

Make It Your New Year’s Resolution to Fight PPI!

There are a lot of things that you need to think about when it comes to getting your life together in the light of the New Year. Making New Year’s resolutions is pretty fun, even though a lot of people don’t make them stick. What New Year’s Resolutions do you really want to honestly make? Some people will want to make a pledge to get out of debt, while others will want to clear up their finances a bit more. No matter where you stand on the issue, one thing is clear; it’s time to revisit PPI.

Some people really stopped thinking about PPI, especially as the media stopped covering it. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing PPI with help, as it means that you will have more time to chase the other goals that you have on your list for the New Year.

The New Year is really a time to step back and reflect. There’s nothing that says that you can’t study as much as possible in order to improve your life. You just have to start somewhere that makes sense. Sure, a lot of people will start by telling you that claiming PPI is something that can’t be done. Yet with the right PPI claims company, it’s all possible. You will really benefit from being able to look PPI squarely in the face… and not be intimidated. You’ll be able to feel good knowing that you’re going to have plenty of firepower … and you won’t have to do it all yourself. You will be able to just enjoy the rest of your life, as it comes.

Remember that these companies don’t ask for any money up front — they’re going to just ask that you pay them a percentage of whatever you win. Yes, this means that their fee can be quite high if you recover a lot of money, but look at it this way — at least you’re not going without the money anymore.

The claims company has worked hard to get the money back for you — they are entitled to some of the profits for all of the work that they’ve done. Why not contact a company and really all about these finer details with them? They’d love to hear from you!

Top 20 Best Business Books

Books, as one of the oldest media, can be still considered as a very effective learning tool. Talking about how successful is a book, we should determine what does it make to be a good book. Does it mean that it is best selling, or most influental..? Also, one same book can differently affect the audience. Anyhow, here is the list of best business books with a brief description:

20. Your Money or Your Life:

Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence
This book was published before more than 20 years, but it is still highly requested and has a significant following. Its focus is on how to teach people to rationally manage the money they  have, so it is much a lifestyle guide then a financial one.


19. Crucial Conversations:

Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High
This New York Times bestselling book was written by 4 authors:  Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.  The focus of the book is how to talk to people. It can sound like an easy  task, however it can sometimes be extremely difficult. This is an unbelievably useful book, with lessons and tips how to talk successfully.


18. Success Built to Last:

Creating a Life That Matters
It could be said that it is easy to determine what make some people successful more than others, but Success Built to Last went one step further. Actually, they interviewed about 200 people for this book, about how they grew and developed in their industries and lives. Bill Clinton, Jeff Bozos, Warren Buffett, Maya Angelou and more all offer their insight.


17. Axiom:

Powerful Leadership Proverbs
The author Bill Hybels is the leader of the large and powerful Willow Creek Community Church. His book Axiom approaches the skills needed for leadership from the angle of a church leader.


16. Competitive Strategy:

Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors
Competitive Strategy has been amazingly popular ever since it was first published in 1998. It is considered as a business classic and is available in 19 languages. He focuses on what makes a business competitive: lowest cost, differentiation and how competitive advantage is crafted.


15. The Millionaire Next Door:

This book study the rich and indicates 7 factors that could be the main attribute of the successful people. They are usually not famous stars know by wide masses of the people. They are just people who quietly and wisely make money.


14. The Smartest Guys in the Room:

The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron
This book describes the financial disaster that happened to Enron. The authors opened the eyes of millions of people to just how deceitful and corrupt the whole business was.

13. Moneyball

Moneyball by Michael Lewis was about how the Oakland A’s general manager took the tools of business into baseball and completely changed the face of baseball. Also, this book was adapted into an incredibly successful movie.


12. The Toyota Way

Based on principles of lean production and constant improvement, it’s an enlightening look into how the company succeeded so long for so well.


11. The Prince

While some current historical works  suggest that Machiavelli’s The Prince may have been written as satire, it has nevertheless been used as a guidebook for people in any and all fields who want to improve their lot.


10. The 4-Hour Workweek:

Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
Timothy Ferriss is a controversial figure. He got his start selling nutrition supplements at improbable price, and managed  his success into a book empire. His book is a quick and easy read.


9. Liar’s Poker

Lewis’ story about graduating from the London School of Economics, and joining the brutal world of Wall Street is an unbelievable one. These young men gambled with millions, attempting to bluff and out manoeuvre one another in financial transactions.


8. The Art of War

Sun Tzu’s Art of War was written more than 2,000 years ago as guide for military strategists in ancient China, but its lessons equally apply to the world of modern business. Strategy is strategy.


7. Wealth of Nations

A lot of people do not understand the philosophical bases of our financial system, especially on a macro-economics scale, which is precisely what Smith lays out. Smith not only championed the free market, but also worried that too much power to the corporations would lead to abuse of the individual.


6. Getting Things Done:

The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Allen’s approach in Getting Things Done has taken on a life of its own on the internet, with millions of users believing his success and his system.


5. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Published 75 years ago. It has been sold in millions of copies over the years and has been the most popular and influential self-help books of all time. Still remains important to these days.


4. The E-Myth Revisited:

Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It
It is a well known fact that a huge percentage of small businesses never really get off the ground, and Gerber’s work looks at where most of them fail.



3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Book “7 Habits” was published in 1990 and has sold 10 million copies. It is a manual of both personal and professional skills, how to be a better person, and from this succeed more.


2. Good to Great:

Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t
Jim Collins wrote Good to Great to analyze the difference between the good and the great in the business world, and how certain companies manage to make the transition.



1. The Innovator’s Dilemma:

The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business
The author focuses on the idea of “disruptive technologies”, new waves of innovation which fundamentally change the landscape of business. Easy to read and provocative, it is a modern classic, and  the best business book around.




A Guide to NHS Continuing Care

As a nation, we find a lot of things to complain about; the weather, ‘chav’ culture, unemployment….the list goes on. But one thing we should all be proud of and thankful for is our fantastic health care service.

The National Health Service or NHS, was created in 1948. It entitles each citizen to free, high quality healthcare, something that our cousins across the pond don’t have the privilege of.

Another great aspect of the NHS is the continuing care service. But what is it? And how are you eligible? Here’s a useful guide to this great service.

What is Continuing Care?

NHS Continuing Care is a service solely provided and funded by the National Health Service and was created to provide extra and continuous care to those who require it.

Freelancer Guide to Writing an Award-Winning Covering letter

As a self-employed individual, you need to do all that you can to market yourself properly to secure freelancing contracts and earn money. Contracting is a competitive industry and therefore you need to make yourself stand out from the crowd.

How can you do this? Well with an award-winning, amazing covering letter of course!

According to a US survey, 75% of those surveyed admitted that awell-written cover letter can improve the odds of a less-qualified applicant obtaining an interview; and a whopping 91% said an applicant who has done research on the company or the position they’re applying for, will receive greater consideration than those who send a generic cover letter.

Your resume is the first insight an employer sees when deciding who to hire. In many cases, they go off this document alone to make a decision before holding an interview, so it is vital that it showcases you in the best possible light.

Four ways in which I can I make my home more eco-friendly?

With energy prices reaching an all-time high, being environmentally proactive is more important than ever. No longer is it simply “eco-warriors” that are flying the flag for making your home efficient and trying to save some money in the process.

With these four easy steps, you can make your home resourceful and save cash in the process. Some of these tips will be easier that you imagined and won’t take long to implement!

Swap your curtains for vertical blinds

Curtains are cosy in the winter when those dark nights draw in. However, if you use vertical blinds instead, you can get every bit of the daylight into your room and keep it light for as long as possible. This may seem a bit drastic, but it also helps in the summer too, by allowing you to easily close the blinds to keep sunshine out, but allow the room to remain light. Vertical blinds are cheap and you can find plenty of places where you can get them fit exactly to your window.

Ensure windows are airtight

I heard a fact that if you see spider’s webs around a window, this could mean that you have a draft of air coming through (and therefore allow spiders to catch flies). Check your entire home for little leaks of air around piping or under doors. Although it may not seem such a big way in which to save money, your heating bills will say otherwise as rooms will be quicker to heat and stay warmer for longer. If your house is already insulated, this is a really good way to make sure you are keeping your house warm.

Standby to lose the red lights

Electrical goods that are left on standby can eat up a huge amount of energy. With pretty much everything plugged in in the 21st century, it makes sense to buy plug socket converters that automatically cut the power to your electrical goods when they are switched off. Alternatively, you could buy a long multi-socket adapter which can allow you to turn everything off at once.
It is a difficult habit to get used to, but once you get everyone doing it, it becomes second nature.

Recycle your food waste

You can now buy various odourless containers where you can place your food waste and allow it to turn into compost. Although it is not something everyone would want in their kitchens, I have one and they are very good. You simply continue to top it up with sawdust like power, which encourages the waste to break down and become food for your daisies! This would save money, especially for the keen gardeners out there.

This is a variety of simple ways in which you can save money by becoming more eco-friendly. I would love to hear about the ways that I have missed so leave a comment with your own green tips!

Written by Jonathan who is interested in encouraging individuals and businesses to become more environmentally efficient and currently working on behalf of Vertical Blinds Direct.

Energy Prices as Reason to Change Old Habits

The constant increase in energy prices will surely lead to better consciousness about energy usage and low carbon economy.

Generally, the Earth has been clamorous sufficiently to show us how the mankind has threatened the ecosystem and made serious trouble. We can recognize these indications in the form of heavy rains, floods, heat waves, drought conditions, forests fires… These have caused great damages to human property and life. It can be clearly concluded that the changes in the climate could be the main cause of the occurrence of the extreme weather conditions.

There have been a lot of researches and studies conducted on these climate changes. They reveal upsetting facts that the mankind has the main role in leading to these occurrences. Greenhouse gas emissions that are generated by humans could be the reason why we are facing water, energy and food shortages. Still, many people are not aware of the consequences of climate changes. They think that the future of the planet do not depends on their steps. However, there is something else that can change their habits. The price of energy sources.

If mankind is trying to make a sustainable business, certainly it will use more renewable energy resources. Altogether, we have to move towards a low carbon economy. It is a must. Coupled by the issue of increasing energy demand and fast wasting of non renewable energy resources which have led to increasing energy prices, human beings have another opportunity to improve the planet’s climatic conditions.