The proportion of UK litigants in London’s Commercial Court has bounced back, latest research suggests, as the Rolls Building prepares to host a new specialist list for complex financial markets cases in the face of competition from centres such as Dubai and Singapore.
Figures from consultancy Portland’s study show that the UK accounted for 37% of the total number of commercial court litigants in the 12 months to the end of March 2015, compared with 23% the previous year.
In total the court heard 207 cases, 88 up on the previous year.
Of the remaining 63%, Eurasia (Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia) and the Middle East and North Africa had the highest regional representation outside Europe.
Clyde & Co had the most cases in the Commercial Court (22 cases), followed by Stephenson Harwood (15) and Ince & Co (seven). Jackson Parton, White & Case and Thomas Cooper represented clients in six cases each.
Hogan Lovells, Addleshaw Goddard and Shearman & Sterling had five cases apiece.
Idil Oyman, head of Portland’s legal disputes practice, said: ‘We’ll have to see in 12 months’ time if the resurgence of UK litigants is a one-off or whether this is the start of a longer-term reversal of the dominance of foreign litigants in the Commercial Court.’
The results come after the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, confirmed that a new financial list - to be established later this year - would provide a specialist dispute resolution forum for claims of £50m or more, or cases that raise issues concerning domestic and international financial markets.
Cases will be allocated to a ‘docketed’ judge – selected from a pool of ‘financial list’ judges. The judge would preside over case management decisions from the commencement of proceedings to the final trial and through to enforcement if necessary.
A new ‘test-case procedure’ will enable issues to be brought for resolution by interested parties even though an actual dispute is not before the court.
The City of London Law Society was among those backing the creation of a specialist list, saying ‘it is important for the English courts to improve, and be seen to improve, the service they provide to international litigants rather than merely to rest on the courts’ historic laurels’.