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Shepherd and Wedderburn secure ‘substantial eight figure’ Burford litigation finance deal

UK law firm Shepherd and Wedderburn has announced an eight figure sum portfolio-based litigation finance deal with Burford Capital for the first time to fund current and upcoming litigation the firm is handling.

The arrangement is the first to be offered by a top 100 UK firm with a litigation funder. City-headquartered Shepherd and Wedderburn has offices in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Shepherd and Wedderburn’s head of commercial disputes Guy Harvey (pictured) told Legal Business that the firm had some specific upcoming competition damages claims in mind when agreeing the deal, but said the financing package would be used to support existing arbitration and intellectual property disputes.

‘We’re not in the market in looking for a big class actions, we’re a firm that deals with corporate actions between corporates’, Harvey said.

Harvey also stated that once the ‘substantial eight figure’ financing deal runs dry, he expects the firm to return to Burford to negotiate a new deal.

In a joint statement, Burford and Shepherd and Wedderburn insisted the deal would expand the firm’s ‘ability to offer alternative fee arrangements.’

In July, Burford Capital entered into a partnership with competition boutique Hausfeld to offer a financing package for UK claimants to pursue follow-on damages claims against truck makers who had participated in a 14-year price-fixing cartel.

In a statement, Hausfeld said that Burford will fund ‘the ongoing costs of litigation’ and will protect claimants against any adverse cost exposure.

Burford’s recent financial results revealed it had generated more profit in the first half of 2017 than any full year in its history, revealing a total 130% income rise from last June to $175.5m.

The income jump for the company, which also has a legal arm, was a result of a booming investment income which rose by 148% to $161.6m in the same time period, the firm said.

Shepherd and Wedderburn are currently representing oil and gas exploration company Cairn Energy in a $5.6bn arbitration claim against India over a disputed tax assessment.

The Indian government is attempting to claim $1.6bn in unpaid taxes from Cairn Energy, in relation to its $8.5bn sale of a 9.8% stake in Cairn India to Indian mining group Vedanta Resources.