11 August 2021

MEDIA RELEASE: COVID-19 has changed the nature of dispute funding

Resolution Institute's 2021 Dispute Resolution Conference

11 August 2021

On the 15th and 16th of July over 400 delegates descended virtually on to the  Resolution Institute 2021 international conference, Resilience and Reinvention: Dispute Resolution During a Crisis. Distinguished guest speakers included Her Excellency the Hon Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of NSW and The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG who delivered the keynote address, titled Wicked Problems. Bright Solutions.

Speakers appearing at the event included key influencers and stakeholders from the business, government, law, judiciary, commercial and academic sectors.

Oliver Gayner, Senior Investment Manager with OMNI BRIDGEWAY chaired a panel titled “International Arbitration: The Client Perspective” where he revealed that the pandemic is changing the ways we fund disputes in Australia as well as the ways in which we resolve them. 

Both aspects were highlighted by the expert speakers in the panel: Christian Paech (former General Counsel, Santos), Edwina Kwan (Partner, King & Wood Mallesons) and Oliver Gayner and Alexandra McVay of Omni Bridgeway. 

The audience was given unique insights into how corporate decision makers are responding to pandemic-related issues such as constraints on liquidity, counterparty default, and unpaid debts, and the important role that dispute finance can play to mitigate these risks. 

“Non-recourse dispute finance enables a company to outsource the costs and expenses of dispute resolution to a professional third-party finance company.  The finance company becomes contractually liable to pay for the company’s legal fees, which are thus taken off balance sheet,” said Mr. Gayner. 

By reducing its operating expenses, the company is able to preserve profitability as well as use its capital for core activities.  No security is required beyond the value of the legal claim itself.  If the claim fails, the company will be protected as the financier has assumed the risks on its behalf.  Financiers like Omni Bridgeway also provide related services such as asset tracing to help recover monies owed by defaulting parties.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the local and global economies, significant challenges are apparent. For both private enterprises and public institutions, priorities are rapidly shifting under increased pressure and for organisations in dispute prone sectors, the efficient resolution of disputes is now more important than ever in order to maintain business and rebuild community confidence and harmony.

Resolution Institute is the peak industry body across dispute resolution disciplines in Australia and Aotearoa, New Zealand. We are a vibrant community of mediators, arbitrators, expert determiners, adjudicators, restorative justice practitioners and other dispute resolution professionals. We value integrity, excellence, innovation, collaboration, diversity, and influence. We reflect these values in our work for and with our members.


Sean Brogan, Public Affairs Manager: 0477 102 303