The legal funding industry colloquially known as the litigation funding industry is taking off globally. Fully developed industries are operational in places like Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. The United States of America’s legal funding industry continues to evolve. Other countries in Europe like Germany, the Netherlands, and France are moving towards allowing legal funding. Funders already have plans to do business in Hong Kong and Singapore. Another country to add to the list of countries that allow legal funding is Nigeria. The litigation funding industry has already reached the African continent with operators already in South Africa. Olusoji Elias, an attorney and owner of a Nigerian legal funding company Aetas LF , was recently profiled in a publication where he talked about the Nigerian litigation funding industry. Elias has written about the industry in the past and appears to be an expert in how the industry will evolve on the continent.
Globalization is in full expansion mode and nothing illustrates this more than the evolution of the legal funding industry. Countries around the world appear to be moving towards the practice and are less worried about arguments against it like champerty and maintenance. In the past, litigation finance in Africa has been written about from legal experts. Articles and thought pieces about litigation funding Africa discuss how it would apply to people’s lives on the continent, how it would be implemented in the current legal systems for certain countries and how big it would become if it is allowed. The Law Reviews is a website based in the United Kingdom. In their January 2018 published an article in the Third Party Litigation Funding Review section about the industry’s prospects in Nigeria. The article mentioned the geopolitical as well as the socio-economic and internal issues that can affect how litigation funding would work in Nigeria. According to the authors of the article, Nigeria has a lot of religious, ethnic, and political issues that can affect litigation. However, due to the huge commercial activity in the country, it is a natural breeding ground for legal claims and legal funding. The authors also state in their article that Nigerians who bring a civil action are responsible for the litigation costs which is a big reason why people turn to legal funding companies. They also mentioned there are already class actions in Nigeria, but they are mostly around maritime law and environmental law (oil spills). They conclude the piece by stating despite some of the problems Nigeria presents to legal funding, a more open mind to it in the eyes of Nigerian law would allow the space to grow and eventually make an impact in the country.
As globalization continues to move throughout the world from places like China and India to now Vietnam and Cambodia, Africa will soon have its moment in the sun. As their legal systems continue to evolve, it may open to the litigation funding industry and that can mean big changes for the citizens in those countries. Elias and Aetas LF may be the first funding company, but they probably won’t be the last in Nigeria.