The Third Party Litigation Funding Law Review: Editor's Preface
This now represents my sophomore year as editor, a role I undertook during the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. As the global economy begins to creak back into motion, I'm reminded of my first steps into the legal profession as a law graduate following the last global financial crisis. Much like now, it was a challenging time for those entering the profession. By happenstance (sheer bloody-mindedness), I found myself at the doors of the London branch of a US plaintiffs' firm, little-known on these shores at the time (I still recall the firm's name was spelled incorrectly by the court on most documents in those days). The firm's proactive and innovative culture naturally meant they were early adopters of third-party funding (TPF). As such, I had the great fortune of being immersed in the world of TPF from my very first day as a trainee solicitor. I witnessed, first-hand, how TPF catalysed both firms' growth and their clients' paths to a healthier balance sheet, notwithstanding the burdens that the global financial crisis had left in its wake. A spark was lit.
Fast forward to the present and TPF is very much a mainstay across the legal landscape in the UK. It feels like every week there are press releases announcing the latest funder on the scene, the latest law firm facility, the latest representative action in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, etc. But how does it all work in practice? Well, just as the list of legal remedies available to litigants varies between jurisdictions, so too does the menu of TPF options. The past couple of years has seen both shifts and endorsements of the respective regulatory frameworks that underpin the sector across the globe. In contrast to the booming UK landscape, for example, the Australian market has found itself on the receiving end of stringent regulations, both in terms of operating structure and commercial terms (in class actions). The overwhelming bigger picture, however, is one of growth, development and innovation. Savvy investors continue to navigate the nuances of each jurisdiction to devise new ways to provide finance to the market, all of which ultimately facilitates broader access to justice. Personally, I'm excited to see how this positive force for change can progress into something even more impactful, as TPF helps facilitate the latest evolution of ESG-related disputes . . . watch this space!
I hope this publication provides a useful guide for litigants, lawyers and investors alike as we take on the challenges the new year brings.