Brexit and the Commercial Courts

Brexit and the Commercial Courts
Panoramic image of the Financial districts of London

The British legal system is one of this country’s greatest assets. Litigants from around the world seek to resolve their disputes here in London. Will Brexit put this at risk – or create new opportunities?

It’s an open question whether decisions to use the Commercial Court will be impacted by the Brexit-induced uncertainty that has wrapped itself around most business sectors. What is certain is that, while we wait to find out, other countries are rising to compete for litigants. This means London must shake off any complacency and work hard to retain its judicial prestige.

Portland’s annual report, ‘Who uses the Commercial Court‘, analyses data to reveal the number of litigants using the courts and where they come from. Our most recent edition covers eight years of data, and is the most comprehensive of its kind.

This year, we’ve seen a decline in European litigants – a 15% reduction since 2010. This bucks a historic trend in which Europe delivers the largest share of litigants, occasionally even surpassing those from the UK.

Countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Nigeria meanwhile feature as the top sources of litigants. It’s business from these countries which currently keeps the UK’s Commercial Courts as one of the top destinations for disputes.

The next edition of our report, out in April 2017, will likely provide an early indication of the Brexit effect, and where the Commercial Courts stand following near a year of uncertainty.

You can learn more about our report here. The FT provided some interesting commentary on our research, writing about Russia’s influence on London’s Commercial Courts and Lord Thomas’ view of the struggle London faces to retain its status as litigation capital – Brexit or no Brexit.

Portland’s Disputes practice advises on high-stakes, complex and sensitive issues involving litigation, crisis or conflict. For more information on the Commercial Court report or any enquiry about work we do, get in touch with Philip Hall.

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