Calunius Capital LLP
One afternoon in February 2008, my phone rang. It was a partner from a major New York law firm asking if I would like to be a non-executive director on the listing on the Alternative Investment Market in London of a ‘third party funder’. I feel now that I was speaking then for (effectively) the entire London lawyer community when I asked my first question: ‘What is third party funding?’
Well, now we know! Or do we? The decision by The Law Reviews to publish its inaugural Third Party Litigation Funding Law Review is certainly a sign of a substantial build-up of interest in the subject, but the contents of the Review itself show that it is perfectly possible for experienced practitioners who are well versed in the subject to differ when it comes to outlining their answers to what is essentially the same question that I asked back in February 2008 – once again, what is third party funding?
Even the naming of third party funding (TPF) can cause difficulties, as besides TPF we have litigation funding, arbitration funding, litigation finance, settlement funding, claims purchase, monetisation (of awards and judgments), law firm funding and in-house legal department finance – the list grows as awareness spreads. Perhaps the best way of describing what TPF has become is ‘legal capital’.
The essence of TPF is the deployment of legal capital to fund the realisation of assets that are contingent on the resolution of some form of legal process. If the assets are sufficiently attractive, other things besides (or instead of ) legal costs can be funded, including corporate expenses.