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January 17, 2014

Court Ruling Calls into Question Funder Assertions About Meritless Claims

by Lisa A. Rickard

The recent U.K. High Court ruling on claims brought by Excalibur Ventures LLC for more than $1.75bn calls into question a key assertion made by the third party litigation funding industry – that litigation funding won’t increase the number of meritless claims.

Excalibur had brought claims over disputed rights to oil blocks in Iraqi Kurdistan. The resulting 57-day trial between Excalibur and Gulf Keystone (among others) was one of the longest cases of 2012-2013 to pass through English courts. Excalibur instructed the global law firm, Clifford Chance, and managed to secure $50m in litigation funding to get the case to court. They filed 14 claims in total under English and New York law – including breach of contract, conspiracy to defraud and fraudulent concealment.

The result?

The claims were apparently thrown out for completely lacking merit and key witnesses were slammed in the 323-page judgment handed down.

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