Arbitration funding is becoming increasingly more prevalent in England and Wales. Funders are legally sophisticated and understand a wide breadth of claim types, with each funder having a varying risk profile and appetite. Recent product developments include funders seeking to identify and fund bundles or portfolios of claims. Other innovations include pre-funding to allow claimants to determine the merits of an action and providing funding for general working capital.
The third-party arbitration funding market is clearly developing in the Netherlands. A number of international funders are active on the Dutch market and, for the past few years, several national funders have been equally active. It is difficult to say at this stage whether external regulation is required. Once funders cater more frequently to less experienced claimants (eg, small and medium-sized enterprises and consumers), regulation may become desirable.
The Canadian courts have confirmed in a series of recent cases that third-party funding is permitted in Canada. Previously, in Canada's common law jurisdictions (ie, all provinces aside from Quebec), opportunities for third-party funding were constrained by the longstanding common law principles of maintenance and champerty. However, the law has evolved to permit third-party funding, subject to certain restrictions.
Third-party arbitration funding has not yet become popular in Poland, but its growing importance in the field of international arbitral practice means that it is gradually entering the Polish market. In particular, foreign sponsors are willing to cover a party's legal fees and expenses incurred in arbitration, as the Polish market is still developing and such investment is needed.
While third-party funding is expressly recognised in the context of civil suits in several states, the legality of third-party funding in arbitrations cannot be adduced from the select group of Indian states which allow third-party funding in civil suits. However, a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court has noted that a champerty contract in which returns are contingent on the success of the case is not per se illegal.
Third-party funding is uncommon in Cyprus. Opinions vary on whether such activities are permissible since this issue has not yet been put before the courts. The Cyprus courts could adopt similar principles to those of English law in relation to this matter in order to allow third-party funding in litigation or alternative dispute resolution proceedings. However, those seeking to adopt such a procedure must be careful since the Cyprus courts might be reluctant to allow it.
Ride-hail services have quickly become a popular alternative to traditional taxi services in urban areas all over the United States. Uber launched in San Francisco in 2010 and has expanded rapidly to urban centres throughout the United States. Lyft operates in hundreds of US cities. The rapid growth of this new technology has left regulators and legislators struggling with how to balance the necessary regulation of ride-hailing services with promoting innovation and new technologies.
Digital markets are a priority under EU competition policy. The fast-paced nature of the market has posed numerous challenges. However, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has stressed that digitalisation does not require a complete overhaul of competition law or the creation of sector-specific rules, but rather adaptation to the features of digital markets.
Third-party funding is uncommon in Greece and, to date, there is no known or recorded precedent of an arbitration funded by a third party. Although Greece has no specific regulation for third-party funding, it does not prohibit third-party funding in arbitration either. As such, those intending to engage in third-party funding are strongly advised to address potential risks (especially issues of financial interests) in carefully drafted funding agreements and other matters in the arbitration agreement itself.
Following police investigations against Uber drivers in Helsinki, the district court fined an Uber driver for illegal taxi driving and ordered the driver to forfeit his earnings as criminal gain. The Helsinki Appeal Court passed a judgment and now an important precedent is pending before the Supreme Court. It is unlikely that the Supreme Court will disagree with the lower courts; nevertheless, the outcome will determine whether and how Uber can continue to operate in Finland.
In recent years, the digital market has expanded rapidly in Hungary in almost every sector. Numerous companies (eg, Uber and AirBnb) have entered the Hungarian market and significantly changed the landscape of entire sectors with their innovative services. The possible competition law issues concern the fact that these new innovative companies can quickly achieve a dominant position. Further, in some sectors, online platforms used by third parties can restrict competition between users.
The fact that more goods than ever are now traded online has meant that the Office for Competition and Consumer Protection has in recent years examined a number of cases regarding online distribution. However, the number of cases regarding the e-commerce sector which have ended with a formal decision has been limited and there have been no high-profile cases.
The ever-expanding digital market has recently established a solid footing in Pakistan, which has seen a growth in digital businesses. At present, the competition authorities take no specific steps to prevent online retailers and service providers from free riding on the investment of bricks-and-mortar retailers and service providers. However, the Competition Commission has undertaken to create awareness of anti-competitive behaviour and deceptive marking practices.
A significant number of consumers prefer to buy products and services online for practical reasons. In order to keep pace with these new market structures, the Competition Board must consider new market definitions for products and services involving digital markets. Moreover, the board must examine the specific dynamics of digital markets while assessing the competitive or anti-competitive effects of relevant cases.
While the advance of the digital economy and the growth of e-commerce affects competition in the Czech Republic, the Office for the Protection of Competition has not yet developed a special strategy or coherent decision-making practice with respect to the specific issues relating to digital markets. That said, the office has issued several decisions regarding competition in online markets – in particular, regarding mergers between e-shop operators and e-shop resale price maintenance arrangements.
The rapidly changing digital market has certainly had a significant impact on online and traditional sales channels in Slovenia; however, studies show that the number of online purchases is still below the EU average. The most common barriers which limit or prevent enterprises from partaking in online sales are connected with products being unsuitable for online sale, problems regarding logistics and problems associated with the cost of introducing web sales.
Despite being in an early stage of development, oil and gas projects are the most contentious type of energy project in Cyprus due to public concerns about health, safety and environmental impact. The most important lesson learned from such projects is the need for education. Local decision makers and the local community must be informed that their health and the environment are not in danger and that there is therefore no reason to oppose such energy projects.
The digital market is expanding worldwide and Mexico is no exception. A recent study showed a 59% growth in e-commerce in Mexico from 2014 to 2015. However, this growth has been inconsistent across the country, which may be due to its underdeveloped internet coverage. Despite this, the effect that e-commerce has had on the Mexican economy is not insignificant. It is therefore necessary to monitor the effect that it has and will have on competition.
The rise of the digital market in Switzerland has led to lasting changes in consumer behaviour, with over 62% of Swiss consumers having used the Internet to buy goods and services. The Competition Commission has investigated and published several leading cases relating to online sales and internet platforms and has also revised its guidelines on vertical restraints to hold that online sales of goods and services are generally considered passive sales.
The most contentious energy projects have centred on the extraction of lignite and hydrocarbons, the installation of renewable resource power plants and the development of the electricity grid. While the extraction of hydrocarbons has raised questions about the environmental effects of this activity and the consequences of oil extraction, these projects have significant support from local communities, since they promise sizeable increases in employment.