The new head of the Chancery Division has voiced confidence that the UK’s business courts will continue to ‘cut the mustard’ internationally post-Brexit.
Sir Geoffrey Vos, who became chancellor of the High Court on 24 October, hailed the ‘unbreakable strengths’ of the UK legal system, insisting London will ‘maintain and enhance’ its reputation as the ‘go-to centre’ for international dispute resolution.
Vos was speaking last night on the future of business litigation at a dinner of the Insolvency Lawyers’ Association.
Vos conceded that the peerless reputation of the English law and courts ‘do not mean the UK is immune to competition’ from other commercial court centres in Europe, the US and Asia. ‘We should take this competition very seriously indeed,’ he said.
But Vos urged lawyers to be positive about the ‘future for UK plc’, stressing that although Brexit ‘presents a challenge, it is not one that should defeat us’.
Vos offered assurances that the judiciary and government are already looking at ‘obvious problems’ such as ensuring judgments can be enforced in the EU when the UK is no longer bound by the Brussels 1 Regulation.
‘The question will remain whether our law and courts can cut the mustard,’ he added. ‘This will only be the case if we maintain the quality of our judges and lawyers. We will need to move with the times but we have a very good position from which to start.’
Vos described the new Financial List launched in October 2015 at the Rolls Building to deal with complex markets cases as a ‘huge success’. So far 22 cases have been started or transferred into the list, with four judgments handed down, four resolved in other ways and 14 still ongoing.
Along with the concurrent success of the Shorter Trials Scheme and Insolvency Express Trials, Vos said the new services the judiciary has devised are ‘responding to a very real need in business litigation’.