Litigation Funding in Arbitrations may be allowed in Hong Kong and Singapore

Hong Kong and Singapore are in the process of amending laws which will allow litigation funding. The proposed amendments will allow third-parties to fund arbitrations seated in these cities. Despite the fact that Singapore and Hong Kong are among the top locations for arbitration globally. Their current laws prohibit litigation financing.

Litigation Funding in Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Law Reform Commission first proposed an amendment to allow third-party funding in October 2015. Over a year later, a bill to that effect was published in the Government Gazette. The bill was formally introduced in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council in January 2017 at its “first reading.” The next step is the second reading, where a vote will take place. The date has not been announced yet. But the law is expected to take effect this year.

The bill amends the Arbitration Ordinance, the current law applicable to domestic and international arbitrations in Hong Kong. The amendment provides that the laws of maintenance, champerty, and barratry will not apply to third-party funding in arbitrations. The proposed law also provides for certain standards and requirements needed to provide or access funding in these cases.

Litigation Funding in Singapore

Singapore published its amendment in the Government Gazette in February 2017. Singapore Parliament approved the law, the Civil Law (Amendment) Act 2017, in January 2017. The law will abolish maintenance and champerty laws in Singapore and permit third-party funding in certain categories of dispute resolution proceedings. The new law takes effect on March 1, 2017.

Singapore’s amendment comes with associated regulations and rules of professional conduct. The regulations provide a list of criteria third-party funders must meet in order to provide financing. One such requirement is that the third-party must be in the “principal business” of litigation funding. The regulations also set out certain categories of cases where third-party funding will be allowed. As for professional conduct, one new rule requires attorneys to disclose any funding agreements to the relevant court or tribunal. The identity of the third-party funder must also be disclosed.

Read full article at AboveTheLaw.com

Summarized and reviewed by Jim Smith.

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