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Burford finances first Singaporean arbitration matter, James MacKinnon joins Burford

October 20, 2019

Asian arbitration expert joins Burford from Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong

Burford sees strong interest in arbitration finance following Singapore and Hong Kong market openings

Burford Capital (“Burford”), a leading global finance firm focused on law, today announces that it has agreed to finance its first Singaporean arbitration matter. To Burford’s knowledge, this is the first Singapore-seated arbitration funded by a third-party finance provider and follows the recent amendments to the Singapore law that now permits arbitration finance. The law firm working on the arbitration that Burford has agreed to finance is international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright.

Burford also announces the appointment of James MacKinnon, formerly of Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong, as Vice President, effective 3 July.

These developments reflect the growing demand for litigation and arbitration finance that Burford sees in Asia-Pacific as well as in its more established markets.

Mr. MacKinnon is a leader in international arbitration in Hong Kong, where he has been a Registered Foreign Lawyer in the Greater China International Arbitration Practice of Herbert Smith Freehills since 2013. He was also a participant in the Third Party Funding for Arbitration Sub-Committee of the Law Reform Commission (LRC), which in October 2015 released a consultation paper proposing that third-party funding for arbitration taking place in Hong Kong should be permitted under Hong Kong law, a position that subsequent legislation has recently affirmed.

Mr. MacKinnon previously seconded with the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre, and practiced with DLA Piper in Dubai and with White & Case in London and Hong Kong.

Craig Arnott, Managing Director of Burford Capital in London, said: “We are thrilled to be financing the first arbitration matter under the new Singaporean regime and look forward to continuing to expand our Asian business.  We are also very pleased to have James joining us to help meet growing demand for Burford’s capital. James’ understanding of the market in Hong Kong and Asia broadly, and his direct engagement in ongoing dialogue about third-party funding with the Law Reform Commission Sub-Committee, will all prove invaluable to the lawyers and clients with whom we work.”