A sign of the growing third party funding market, Harbour Litigation Funding has raised a significant £230m investment fund to bankroll disputes as it looks to capitalise on rising demand.
With £180m of predecessor funds already in the pot, the latest capital injection, named Harbour Fund III, aims to consolidate the funder’s position in the disputes market and target international arbitration and litigation in common law jurisdictions.
According to Harbour co-founder and head of litigation funding Susan Dunn, ‘demand for funding continues to outstrip supply of funding in the market. The fact remains there are still only a handful of funders in the world with access to meaningful sums available to fund disputes’.
The funds are advised by the investment team led by Susan Dunn, with investment directors Stephen O’Dowd, Frances Wacher, Rocco Pirozzolo and new recruit Matthew Knowles, who joined from BHP Billiton’s in-house legal team.
Cases considered by the funder undergo a monthly review by its investment committee which comprises Hardwicke Chambers joint chairman Nigel Jones QC, Blackstone Chambers’ Robert Howe QC and 39 Essex Chambers’ Peter Rees QC. It considers whether the defendant is creditworthy, if the cost of the case is proportionate, if the case has strong legal merit and how experienced the legal team is.
With headcount and monthly case enquiries both doubling since 2010, Harbour is funding heavyweight mandates including the high profile £164m claim against Barclays by UK trading and investments firm CF Partners, which alleges the bank mis-used confidential information in its 2010 takeover of Tricorona.
On the latest capital boost, Dunn added: ‘Businesses are increasingly seeking both to offset litigation costs and to have access to Harbour’s wealth of litigation and costs management expertise. We have seen a growing appetite from around the world, by solicitors, barristers, general counsel and finance directors for using funding.’
For more on third party funding, see Double-edged – cutting both ways with third party funding