Another recent judgment in the Walker litigation concerns the validity of a litigation funding arrangement from SPF No. 10 Ltd (SPF). That arrangement is being used to fund proceedings that the liquidators of Property Ventures Ltd (in liquidation) (PVL) have brought against PwC and the directors of PVL. See our previous update on the related litigation.
An appeal to the Supreme Court, brought by PwC, concerned the validity of the funding arrangements. However, after the hearing of the appeal, PwC settled with the plaintiffs in the proceeding. Unusually, the Court (except Elias CJ) considered that the appeal involved important issues on which the Court had heard full argument and that a ruling would cause no detriment to any of the respondents, so decided to deliver the judgment.
The Court was critical of SPF making last-minute and ad hoc changes to the arrangement, but was nevertheless satisfied by the arrangement and the undertakings SPF had given to pay a portion of any proceeds to the liquidator.
In dissent, Elias CJ declined to issue a decision because the proceedings had settled and were very specific. However, the Chief Justice remarked that the "arrangement could amount to the transfer of a bare cause of action for profit and is champertous… trafficking in litigation, which I do not think this Court should acquiesce in without further consideration and full argument."
Also raising interest in the proceeding is news that the liquidator of PVL has recently released former managing director David Henderson from the substantive proceeding, stating that the former bankrupt has no assets to satisfy the claim.
See the Supreme Court's decision here.