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Funding, in law, is the means by which a lawyer (solicitor or, through the solicitor, a barrister) is paid for work done or to be done for a client. It is different from costs (which are payable to the client for the lawyers’ work done on a case and other expenses of litigation).

Funding will take four main forms:

  1. Cash: paid by the client to their solicitor, who holds the money in a client account; and the funding money remains the client’s money till a solicitor sends the client a bill.
  2. Legal aid (once known as ‘public funding’): paid by the government to the lawyers (not direct to the client, despite frequent assertions to the contrary in the popular press) according to three main conditions:
    • the client’s means;
    • the type of proceedings proposed by the client (in a declining variety of cases); and
    • the merit of the client’s case (claim or defence), sometime also called “interests of justice”.
  3. Legal services order: in a narrow band of matrimonial financial provision cases the poorer spouse may be able to persuade a court to order the richer spouse to pay part or all of their lawyer’s funding.
  4. Litigation funding: paid by a third party, not involved in the dispute, but often under a contract whereby they will receive a share of any financial proceeds.