A third-party litigation funder targeting the SME market has revealed a £60m treasure chest to invest in smaller cases in 2015.
Augusta Ventures said it aims to quadruple its caseload this year after investing £8m in 36 cases in 2014 – the first year of operating.
The fund is backed by a private wealth management company in Canada and by Metric Capital Partners, a capital fund manager whose partners include former Clifford Chance managing partner Peter Cornell.
Augusta is one of the first litigation funders to go after smaller cases, investing between £10,000 and £600,000 in a range of commercial litigation matters. The two investments that have concluded, both through mediated settlements, have been a shareholder dispute and a contested probate matter.
Managing director Louis Young said there is demand from claimants who cannot otherwise afford to take on cases and want to reduce the risks in the process.
Young said solicitors are also starting to realise they can generate new work by introducing financing for all types of claims.
Augusta claims to offer an ‘unrivalled level of transparency and can provide quotes within 24 hours of receiving details of the case’.
Once adopted, claimants are generally expected to make a financial contribution to their lawyer’s fees, while the solicitors work under a partial conditional fee agreement.
Augusta receives around 20% of the net proceeds of a successful case.
Shareholders include David Cheyne, former senior partner of Linklaters, and Martyn Bowes, former head of real estate financing at Barclays. Its case review panel is led by Speechly Bircham former head of dispute resolution Stephen Dobson and includes former High Court judge Sir Raymond Jack QC.