I am firmly in the camp that believes that discounted Damaged Based Agreements are impossible and illegal at present. However, if rumours are to be believed, it is only a matter of time (my bet is on Spring 2014) before the rules are changed and they are possible.
In Commercial Litigation, they could be the holy grail (for Claimants). However, in PI and Clin Neg, I’m old fashioned and of the opinion that damages should belong to the Claimants. Whether it is general damages or something else, damages are designed to place (if possible) the Claimant in the same position as they were before the accident.
Furthermore, we do not have punitive damages in this country.
Having watched Erin Brockovich over the weekend, I am now an expert in the way that US firms operate. In the Hinkley case (which the film is about), the firm Erin worked for took 40% of £333m as their fee. I just can’t see that working over here!