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Burford Capital Buys Gerchen Keller to Create Largest Litigation Funding Firm

London-based third party litigation funder Burford Capital Ltd. purchased US-based Gerchen Keller LLC to form the largest litigation funding firm in the market. The combined firm will operate under Burford’s name, and has $1.2 billion in investment assets and commitments under management according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 2009, in his review of Civil Litigation Costs, Lord Justice Jackson said “I accept that third party funding is still nascent in England and Wales and that in the first instance what is required is a satisfactory voluntary code, to which all litigation funders subscribe…In the future, however, if the use of third party funding expands, then full statutory regulation may well be required, as envisaged by the Law Society”.

This move signals that the third party litigation funding industry is maturing, and is no longer nascent. The U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform recently released critical research on this topic that examines the ethical and practical concerns that are emerging from the significant expansion of third party litigation funding in the UK, and underscores the need for government oversight of the practice.

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Lawsuit Crowdfunding Raises Serious Concerns in the UK

Litigation crowdfunding has the potential to take the already serious ethical and practical problems with litigation funding and multiply them by injecting dozens – perhaps hundreds – of mystery investors in civil lawsuits. In the interest of consumers, decision makers must not allow this trend to continue unchecked.

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