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England tests Australian-style litigation funding

England tests Australian-style litigation funding

Three lawyers are planning to float a $102m fund that they hope will make money by financing legal disputes as well as share in any damages awarded.

THREE lawyers are planning to float a £50m ($102m) fund that they hope will make money by financing legal disputes as well as share in any damages awarded. 


John Byrne, Neil Purlow and George Brown, all UK litigators, have called their new money-maker Therium. It will back court cases in the UK as well as those in international arbitration, Times Online reports. 


The lawyers are marketing the litigation-funding scheme to fund managers, and have hired stockbroking and advisory firm and KBC Peel Hunt as an adviser. 


The three plan to market their new service through law firms instead of directly to the end clients. It is companies, individuals and charitable trust, however, that they are targeting. 


It remains to be seen whether the expected investment of between £100,000 and £5m a case will return the anticipated 250 per cent return. 


Litigation-funding has been a proved success in Australia, including ASX-listed company IMF. But it is a relatively new scheme in England. UK-listed company Juridica has launched a similar system, but it focuses on the American market. 


The system potentially makes external funding more affordable. It is used by cash-strapped businesses looking to cut costs, particularly at the onset of litigation. 


The private litigation funding system has courted some controversy in Australia, but has also been used in some major cases. Slater & Gordon secured funding for class actions against Opes Prime and Centro, for example. 



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