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Is third party funding for international arbitration on the way?



Third party funding of international arbitration may be provided for, for the first time, through an amendment to legislation which is currently before the Oireachtas.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee recently announced that the restriction on third party funding that currently exists will be removed in respect of international arbitrations through a Government amendment to the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which is currently before the Dáil.
A spokesperson for the Minister commented that this change "will improve Ireland's competitive edge in a global battle to secure this international service".
As matters stand, this amendment seems confined to international arbitrations and there is no indication that the restrictions on third party funding in respect of litigated cases will be removed or even softened. The Supreme Court has previously confirmed that the torts of maintenance and champerty remain in place and that legislation will be required to remove them from the statute books.
Separately, the European Parliaments Committee on Legal Affairs has recommended the introduction of an EU-wide legislative framework for third party litigation funding. In time, this could require Ireland to create provision for such funding mechanisms.
Perhaps this recent announcement is the first step in a long-awaited evolution towards more sophisticated litigation funding models. 

Written by: Killian O'Reilly

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