Litigation funder Burford Capital has announced a 75% increase in net profits for 2016, taking the figure to $115m (£95m), while warning the government that the Jackson reforms had made it impossible to provide after-the-event (ATE) insurance for “large and complex” commercial cases.
The third-party funder that was at the centre of the landmark High Court ruling that saw a claimant recover the cost of his funding, has now launched two products to aid parties involved in international arbitration against an opponent who is behaving unreasonably.
There is currently no need to introduce statutory regulation of third-party litigation funders, the government said yesterday. Justice spokesman Lord Keen said there was no reason to move away from the voluntary scheme.
A structural change at MedCo kicks off our round-up of a series of significant appointments in the world of litigation. Martin Heskins has been named as MedCo’s executive chair with responsibility for leadership and strategic direction.
London law firm Harcus Sinclair – acting under a damages-based agreement and supported by Slater & Gordon – has secured third-party litigation funding to start the first group litigation arising from the Volkswagen emissions scandal.
Both Hong Kong and Singapore have moved to clarify the use of third-party funding in arbitration as the market continues to expand. A bill has been published in Hong Kong to clarify that third-party funding is not prohibited by the common law, while in Singapore arbitrators can now order the disclosure of the funding agreement.
Burford Capital, the world’s largest listed litigation funder, has today moved to consolidate its position by spending $160m (£126m) to buy its main competitor, US-based Gerchen Keller Capital. The deal both strengthens and diversifies Burford, as GKC is also an investment manager.
Third-party funders should normally be liable for indemnity costs when they are awarded against funded claimants, the Court of Appeal has ruled in a decision that makes a clear statement placing litigation funding in the mainstream.
The benefits of a contingent legal aid fund (CLAF) are uncertain, the joint professional working party has said, with concerns over the need for “substantial seed funding” among the problems. It has issued a survey to seek lawyers’ views about whether and how it could work.
Third-party litigation funder Calunius Capital has closed its third fund at a total of £100m of capital, meaning it now advises funds exceeding £200m that invest in large-scale commercial litigation and arbitration. Meanwhile, the joint venture that created London-based IMF Bentham Europe has come to an end.
Proportionality is one of the major issues that we find we are dealing with at the end of a matter, particularly in the small-to-medium-value claims. Why was it introduced? It was considered that the then existing system was not working and that a system needed to be put in place which would “promote access to justice at proportionate cost”. In 2009, Court of Appeal judge Sir Anthony May said: “Assessments which have to concentrate retrospectively on what the winning party has spent will always risk producing a disproportionate result.”