Burford Capital Singapore Director Quentin Pak spoke in front of a packed audience this past weekend at the 2017 China Legal Capital Summit held in Shenzhen. The conference attracted over 300 law firm, corporate and academic attendees, as well as some high ranking legal government officials.
Quentin’s keynote presentation explored the increased use of external finance to fund litigation around the world and market developments in China. The Chinese legal market is incredibly large, with approximately 300,000 lawyers and three million cases filed each year.
This growth will coincide with China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, a boon for Chinese companies and for regional development. However, Chinese companies investing in opportunities across the One Belt, One Road region are likely to face various legal and regulatory issues. If Chinese companies get into disputes with foreign governments, they will find themselves in unfamiliar legal territory, requiring legal advice in proceedings before local courts in foreign jurisdictions or to proceed in an international arbitration. This will be not only expensive but also a complex undertaking.
In addition, the presentation also explored the evolving use of legal finance and how it is no longer just about providing capital for parties to pursue single cases. Like other markets, it is expected that Chinese companies and law firms will embrace the bundling of multiple claims together in a single transaction, or “portfolio financing.” For example, Chinese companies with multiple disputes arising from their One Belt One Road investments could bring the claims together into a portfolio and seek funding for it all.