In January 2017, Singapore’s parliament passed the Civil Law Amendment Act and the Civil Law (Third Party Funding) Regulations 2017 permitting the use of funding in international arbitration.
The general consensus among funders, and Woodsford’s own experience, is that the number of funding opportunities in Asia is gradually increasing and that, while some arbitrations were being funded, many had failed to meet the investment criteria applied by professional litigation funders.
The most significant issue with the opportunities considered by funders to date appears to be ‘recoverability’, as funders struggle to get comfortable with the prospects of enforcement against parties with assets in jurisdictions such as mainland China, India and Indonesia. However, as parties arbitrating in Singapore become more accustomed to the availability of third-party funding and the enforcement prospects in Asian jurisdictions improve, it is likely that significantly more cases will be backed by third-party funders.
Funding in Singapore isn’t exclusively available for arbitration. In October 2018, Singapore lawmakers passed the Insolvency, Restructuring and Dissolution Act, which enshrines in statute a liquidator’s or judicial manager’s power to assign the proceeds of an insolvent estate’s claim to a third party. This provision is said to have been introduced expressly to facilitate third-party funding.
Woodsford opened our first Asian office in Singapore in October 2017. We have funded cases in many jurisdictions, including several international arbitrations and disputes involving insolvent estates. And we have the expertise, appetite and resources for much more.