Litigation funding agreements under the spotlight in important Bermuda decision

By Keith Robinson

The recent Bermuda decision of Stiftung Salle Modulable & Rutli Stiftung v Butterfield Trust (Bermuda) Ltd (Civil Jurisdiction 2012 No. 165) handed down on 21 February 2014 contains important points relevant to the question of litigation funding, as well as to practitioners of private international law and trusts. The 121-page ruling of the chief justice followed a six-week trial and largely turned on a close analysis of the factual evidence.

The main issue in dispute was whether the defendant, the trustee of a Bermuda trust (known as the Art I Trust), had a contractual (or other binding) obligation to provide funding of up to CHF120m (£80m) for the planning and construction of an opera house in Lucerne, Switzerland.

The plaintiffs were a Swiss charitable foundation established for the express purpose of planning, constructing and maintaining the opera house and a Swiss philanthropic foundation…

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