Vaughn R. Walker, former United States District Judge for the Northern District of California and John Sulan, former justice in the South Australia Supreme Court, will help the company vet opportunities to fund commercial litigation and arbitration matters for clients in jurisdictions including the U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore.
IMF Bentham, one of the oldest and most experienced commercial litigation funders in the world, is pleased to announce the appointment of Judge Vaughn R. Walker and Mr. John Sulan QC, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia to its United States and Australian investment committees, respectively. The judges, each of whom brings to the committees their immense experience on the bench and as legal practitioners, will enhance IMF’s risk management processes by participating in decisions about which cases the public company funds. They will play a key role in helping the company remain one of the most successful commercial litigation funding companies in the world, with a track record that includes a 90% success rate, an average of 63% of all case proceeds retained by clients, and $2.0 billion in recoveries generated in 192 cases funded to completion over 16 years.
“Mr. Sulan and Judge Walker will bring a new and welcome dimension to our investment committees, adding to the rigour of our process for analyzing cases,” said Andrew Saker, Chief Executive Officer of IMF.
Vaughn R. Walker, who joins the investment committee for IMF’s U.S. arm, Bentham IMF, served as United States District Judge for the Northern District of California from 1989 to 2011 and was Chief Judge from 2004 to 2011. Judge Walker presided over the original trial in Hollingsworth v. Perry, where he found California’s Proposition 8 (a ballot initiative intended to defeat same sex marriage in California) to be unconstitutional. “IMF’s 16-year record of success speaks to the strength of its due diligence and investment review process. I’m pleased to provide an additional perspective as the company assesses an ever-increasing volume of investment opportunities in the United States,” said Judge Walker.
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A graduate of University of Michigan and Stanford Law School, Judge Walker was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in economics at the University of California, Berkeley. After clerking for United States District Court for the Central District of California Judge Robert J. Kelleher, he practiced in San Francisco at Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro until joining the federal bench in 1989.
Since retiring from the bench in 2011, Judge Walker has operated a private practice in San Francisco focusing on arbitration and mediation services. He also lectures at Stanford University Law School and the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
Mr. Sulan served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia (2003 to 2016) and District Court (1997 to 2003). “Since its founding in 2001, IMF has had considerable impact, first in the Australian legal community, and now on a more global scale. I’m pleased to be given an opportunity to participate in the company’s process of analysing cases for funding,” said Mr. Sulan.
Mr. Sulan began working as a Supreme Court associate in 1968 and became a criminal and civil prosecutor before taking on the role of Commissioner for Corporate Affairs in South Australia from 1976 to 1980. He was a key prosecutor in one of Hong Kong’s greatest corporate fraud cases, Carrian Investments Ltd, before returning to Australia. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1990 and joined the South Australian Bar where he worked for seven years mainly on commercial matters. Mr. Sulan was appointed as special investigator into the collapse of Bond Corporation Ltd. Widely recognized throughout his career for his commitment to promoting multiculturalism and religious tolerance, Mr. Sulan was the recipient of a Governor’s Multiculturalism Award in 2013.