Brexit will not harm London’s status as a centre for dispute resolution, the lord chief justice has assured Chinese colleagues. In a speech to the National Judges College in Beijing earlier this month and circulated by HM Judiciary today, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd took English contract law as an illustration of why Brexit will have ‘no effect on London’s key strengths’. 

’Brexit has no effect, unsurprisingly, both because the common law is used by nearly 30% of the world’s legal jurisdictions and because English contract law has at its centrepiece respect for parties’ intentions, as has the Commercial Court in London,’ he said.

’That English contract law is well-established, well-understood and freely circulates contributes to its being a law of choice; and in terms of arbitration, the law of choice for 40% of all global corporate arbitrations. English contract and commercial law remains as the UK’s “national treasure”.’

He said the government has made clear that measures will be put in place to ensure the recognition of jurisdiction clauses and the enforcement of judgments after the UK leaves the EU.  

’London’s Commercial Court is and will remain the ideal commercial court for litigation. London remains and will remain to the fore as a centre of international dispute resolution,’ he assured colleagues.  

Lord Thomas also used his speech to promote his plan for a Standing International Forum of Commercial Courts.

The new body’s objective is to build on and develop a more systematic and common approach to the provision of dispute resolution, to keep commercial dispute resolution up to date and to see that the law and legal framework is developed in a way that supports international trade, international commerce and the international financial markets. ’All will benefit’, Lord Thomas said.

He announced that the forum’s first conference will take place in London next month.