Ruth is a cross-border international dispute resolution lawyer, qualified in Australia and the UK. She has 12 years’ experience in private practice at leading global law firms; in global dispute finance and at one of the world’s leading international arbitration centres. She has represented multinational organisations in, acted as tribunal secretary for and reviewed from a commercial and legal standpoint complex cross-border matters throughout Asia Pacific, Europe, USA and the Middle East in a variety of sectors including defence, telecommunications, construction, media, pharmaceuticals and natural resources. One of the first to set up and manage local operations for a global dispute funder in Asia, Ruth has been commercially assessing dispute prospects and funding cases in civil and common law jurisdictions in Asia, and globally, since 2015. She has also worked to develop regional political and legislative frameworks to allow third party funding in key Asian jurisdictions. Ruth is a member of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre Task Force on Third Party Funding. Before joining Omni Bridgeway, Ruth was Managing Director for an exclusive broker to a global litigation funder in the Asia Pacific region. She joined the dispute finance market from the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre where, as Managing Counsel, she led the arbitration team for several years and, in 2014, managed the Centre as Acting Secretary-General. Read moreView Profile Page
It’s a very relationship-driven industry. Typically, cases come to us in three ways. They might come from clients directly. For example, if a company has been involved in a dispute before, where funding has been used, they might know to come to us directly. If they are more sophisticated and funding is something that they are aware of, they will simply pick up the phone, tell us they have a dispute and we’ll take it from there. Other circumstances might be that they have gone to their lawyers and they are discussing their prospects and how they might wish to take forward their case and the lawyer might suggest that they consider funding, either because the case is one where they might not wish to invest the money in the case, so it would not go forward without a funder, or it might be just as an alternative or different way to manage the financial arrangements in that case. The lawyers might then suggest that they approach us. Finally, other professional advisors, other types of experts, might be looking at cases and, also, might suggest that the case is one that is suitable for funding.
In all of those circumstances, we would then commence our due diligence process and run through that, in looking at the particular case.
Generally, there may or may not be any difference. Whether it comes from a client or through the law firm, largely depends on the level of education, of either party, about funding. It is not necessarily the case that a different type of case would come through each route.
We do get a lot of enquiries. On average, per month, we might be seeing 40 or 50 enquiries from those that are interested in funding. Often, ones that come from individuals or companies directly, may not necessarily be suitable for funding, because they might be too small or they may not have a developed position yet, such that we can really assess them. Typically, if a case comes to us through a law firm because, generally, at this stage, they have a higher understanding of what a funder might be looking for there has, necessarily, been a filtering process, which means the case may be more suitable for funding.
That is not necessarily always the case. For example, one of my current funded cases came to us directly from a client. They are based in Russia, in Moscow and they didn’t have lawyers involved. They came to us. We have introduced them to lawyers and the case is now proceeding, with our funding.
The underlying premise for any litigation or dispute that we would get involved with means that there has to be an underlying legal claim in existence. We can’t originate any kind of investment unless there is that underlying claim. No funder versus another can change that.
In a general commercial claim, it could be the case that, because of the expertise that we have, as investment managers, we can speak to clients, understand their situation and be able to see that they have a claim. Others, who don’t have that particular experience, might not appreciate that. Having said that, what we would then do is suggest that they get advice from lawyers, from a legal team. We could introduce them to someone or, if they already had an existing set of advisors, they could use them. It’s not really our job to put the case together for them; they need to do that with their lawyers. But we might point them in the direction of suggesting that they had a good claim that they might want to consider further.
All of our investment managers have years of experience in-house, in private practice, in various contexts, so we might see opportunities that others might not.