Simon Powell, a former Hong Kong managing partner of Latham & Watkins, has joined third-party funder Woodsford Litigation Funding.

Powell left Latham & Watkins in January after nine years where he built and led the disputes and arbitration practices across Asia. He has 27 years of experience as an arbitration and dispute resolution lawyer in Asia, focusing on complex commercial and corporate disputes.

Powell becomes Woodford’s second Asia-based IAP member, reflecting the increasing importance of the region for dispute resolution. 

Speaking to Benchmark Litigation, Simon Powell said, “I consider my appointment a vivid illustration of the increasing importance of the region to litigation funding companies such as Woodsford. I am also looking forward to being an ambassador for ‘funding’, and the benefits it can bring for the right cases, when done right. I have known the team at Woodsford for some time, and know the entity as a reputable and reliable partner for funded cases, an important consideration for those looking for funding.”

Hong Kong permits third-party funding of arbitration from 1 February, further enhancing Hong Kong’s position as one of the leading arbitration hubs in Asia.  

“These recent changes in Hong Kong simply bring Hong Kong into line with other arbitral institutions across the world, removing a potential competitive disadvantage for Hong Kong in attracting arbitration cases to the region. As with other jurisdictions where funding has been liberalised, I would anticipate that initial take up by law firms and their clients will be gradual. It will inevitably take some time for the legal community to fully embrace funding, but I am confident that, in time, it will become just another normal part of the landscape for arbitrations in Hong Kong, as it has in other parts of the world where the funding has been allowed for some time,” Powell added.

Powell has been recognised as a “dispute resolution star” since Benchmark Asia-Pacific’s beginnings in 2013.