Portland’s annual Commercial Courts report reveals a decline in European litigants for the fourth consecutive year. The study revealed a 15 per cent decline in the share of European litigants using the English Commercial Court since March 2012.
Europe has historically been home to the largest share of litigants in the Commercial Court, occasionally even surpassing the number of UK litigants. However, the share from Europe has declined steadily over the past four years. The figure reached a peak of 35% in 2012-2013, and has since decreased to under 20% (2015-2016).
Overall, foreign litigants continue to see London as a key international disputes resolution centre, making up 66 per cent of all cases. Over the last eight years Kazakhstan, Russia, Switzerland and the US have consistently ranked in the top eight countries of origin for litigants.
The “Who Uses the Commercial Court?” reviewed 1,158 judgments from the Commercial Court of England and Wales between 2008 and 2016.
Other findings include:
- This year the number of UK litigants was much lower (at 144), suggesting that last year’s spike of 207 does not appear to be the beginning of a wider trend;
- Litigants seem to be coming from an increasingly narrow pool of countries. 2015-16 saw the lowest recorded variety of different nationalities, with only 57 countries represented (compared to 70 in the previous year);
- Litigants most often face their own countrymen in the Commercial Court. Litigants from countries such as Kazakhstan, Nigeria and Russia frequently choose the London court to have their domestic disputes heard.
Philip Hall, Head of Portland’s Disputes practice, said: “Our eight years of research is further proof of the attraction of London to litigants around the world. The decline from Europe is however notable – it will be interesting to see if it continues in the coming year.”