Well, Brexit is – after three and a half years – finally a reality.
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« Well, Brexit is – after three and a half years – finally a reality. It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride; many believed for a long time that there was a very real chance of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, and although there is a slim chance that this might still happen, both Brussels and Westminister are united in their desire to get a trade deal done. The legal world was leaving nothing to chance, however, and as a result, many parties have chosen to include arbitration agreements in their contracts for the first time – which should lead to an increase in the number of arbitrations taking place in London. With a withdrawal agreement negotiated by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 31st. It will transition out of the various EU institutions throughout 2020. Even after that, UK judgments will continue to be enforceable under EU rules whenever they are issued, providing the relevant proceedings are commenced before the end of the transition period. However, there is continuing uncertainty over judgments resulting from proceedings issued after that point. So the recent shift towards London-seated arbitration in international commercial contracts may turn into a long-term trend. Time will tell. Third-party funders to the fore Also of note in recent arbitration trends, third-party funders have been making a name for themselves. Some of them, such as Therium, are real economic powerhouses; even Burford Capital, despite its stock price plummeting after a critical August 2019 report by short-seller Muddy Waters, has billions of dollars of capital under management, ready to deploy large sums in high-stakes international arbitration. 2019 also saw a major locus for arbitration, Hong Kong, allow third-party funding for the first time. Arbitration funders are also starting to work more closely with law firms. Clyde & Co., for example, set up a ground-breaking funding arrangement between a client and a litigation capital manager. On a number of fronts, third-party funders in the world of arbitration are just getting started. »
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