UK: Debenhams Ottaway LLP Announce Innovative Litigation Funding Panel
Last Updated: 31 May 2018

Debenhams Ottaway LLP is delighted to appoint Therium Capital Management Ltd, Sparkle Capital Ltd and Ferguson Litigation Funding Ltd to its litigation funding panel following an extensive procurement exercise. The firm's clients include high net worth individuals, multinationals, growing corporates, financial institutions, insolvency practitioners and other professional practices.

The procurement exercise, believed to be the first of its kind undertaken by a mid-sized law firm, was launched in January by partners Luke Harrison and Juliet Schalker1. The aim of the panel is to open up litigation funding for more claims by cutting out the middle man, simplifying the funding process and developing longer term relationships with funders. The panel covers claims up to £5m in value but its aim is to unlock many claims worth £1,000,000 or less by making them suitable for funding.

As well as funding for individual cases, the firm intends to work with the panel of funders to develop schemes for particular types of litigation including office holder claims, professional negligence and intellectual property disputes.

Commenting on the announcement, Luke Harrison said:-

"We carried out an extensive search of the market and believe that the funders we have selected for our panel are the most innovative and aligned to our values of collaborative working and relentless focus on client interests. There is much more competition amongst funders now and whilst funders quite rightly need to maintain prudent underwriting criteria there are ways to streamline the process. Equally, there are ways litigators, with a little more focus, can reduce the costs of litigation. Where these efforts converge it generates better value for clients."

Commenting on the announcement Neil Purslow, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Therium said:-

"We are delighted that Therium has been selected by the team at Debenhams Ottaway. Given the continued growth in demand for litigation funding, the initiative underscores the firm's proactive approach and is another example of how they are innovating to ensure that when the need for funding arises, clients are well provided for and the terms are competitive. We look forward to working with the team and leveraging Terium's extensive experience to provide clients with funding solutions that are appropriate."

Commenting on the announcement Tets Ishikawa, Director of Acasta Europe and Senior Advisor to Sparkle Capital Ltd said:-

"We are delighted to be appointed to the litigation funding panel of Debenhams Ottaway. They are a progressive, innovative and forward-looking law firm who recognise the impact and value that third party litigation funding can have for their clients. Sparkle Capital, together with the other panel members, now provides Debenhams Ottaway with the full range of funding solutions from across the market to ensure that each client has real access to justice. This panel is a much needed step to improve accessibility and overall development of the funding market for those who need it the most."

Commenting on the announcement Maurice Power, Managing Director of Ferguson Litigation Funding Limited said:-

"We look forward to working with Debenhams Ottaway to open up the benefits of litigation funding to their current and future clients, and are excited at the prospect of working collaboratively to develop innovative solutions to satisfy client needs and to expand areas of work. Luke and Juliet are to be applauded for leading the market in forming this panel and for the professional manner in which they have conducted this procurement process."

Notes

  1. Debenhams Ottaway is a multi-service, innovative law firm based in Hertfordshire, known for delivering clients outstanding service and our award winning legal advice. The firm's litigation team has seen rapid growth over recent years with a number of key strategic hires from London firms and has recognised expertise in a number of specialist fields of commercial disputes including contentious insolvency, professional negligence, contentious intellectual property and banking litigation.
  2. Since its foundation in 2009, Therium has been at the forefront of the litigation finance industry, pioneering products such as the combined use of insurance tools alongside funding vehicles, and introducing portfolio funding into the UK. Therium has also been at the vanguard of expanding litigation funding internationally: it was the first European funder to launch a full service business in the USA, headquartered in New York, in 2016; it introduced litigation funding to Scandinavia when it opened in Oslo the same year; and the firm was the market's first UK player to establish a full service business in Germany, in Dusseldorf in March 2017. Therium is a founder member of the Association of Litigation Funders of England and Wales (ALF), the self regulatory body regulating the litigation funding industry in England and Wales. Therium is supportive of the ALF and complies with its Code of Conduct. In May 2018, Chambers and Partners, the leading global publisher of rankings and directories for the legal sector ranked Therium as a Tier 1 Litigation Funder.
  3. Sparkle Capital is a litigation funding business privately-owned and funded by the family of Fred Done, the English billionaire best known for BetFred and various other business interests. Since 2014, Sparkle has been funding sub-£5m claims in England and Wales, which are underserved by the litigation funding market through its two main products – 1&20 and Fixed Interest Release. Administered by Acasta Europe Ltd – a provider of ATE insurance regulated by the FCA, Sparkle has prioritised accessibility for its corporate and high net worth customers, with a particular focus on competitive and transparent pricing and a simple application process.
  4. Since launching in April 2016, Ferguson Litigation Funding Limited ("FLF") has established itself as a credible and trusted provider within the global litigation funding market. From the initial focus of generating business from the UK insolvency sector, FLF now receives applications from the wider legal in the UK and numerous jurisdictions around the world, with claim values ranging from £30k to in excess of £1bn.

Footnote

[1] For press coverage see

Litigation Futures and The Law Society Gazette

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