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Who Uses The Commercial Court? – 2017

Portland’s annual English Commercial Court report reveals the courts are increasingly global, while European litigants continue to stagnate.

Portland Disputes practice’s 2017 English Commercial Court report shows that the courts are attracting an increasingly global range of litigants. It also reveals the continued stagnation in the share of European litigants using the Commercial Court, a trend which began with a sharp decline from March 2012.

Despite the drop in European litigants, the Commercial Court is increasingly global, with foreign litigants making up 72% of all cases. The top ten countries by litigants’ origin includes litigants from five continents. This year India has entered the top five litigants for the first time, while the USA dropped out of the top five (to joint ninth) for the first time since 2012-13.

The proportion of European litigants continues to hover around 20%, significantly down from 35% in 2012-13. Only 15.7% of the total litigants in the last year were from the European Union.

Portland’s study “Who Uses the Commercial Court?” reviewed 1,292 judgments from the Commercial Court of England and Wales between March 2008 and March 2017.

Other findings:

  • This year the number of UK litigants continued to decline at 28%, a trend that has continued since 2011-12 as the courts become more global;
  • Claimants and defendants from the same countries continue to use the London Commercial Court to have their disputes heard. Litigants from countries such as Singapore, Russia and Kazakhstan frequently choose the London court to resolve disputes relating to their home country.

Philip Hall, Head of Portland’s Disputes practice, said:

“Portland’s Commercial Courts report shows that, for now, London has maintained its position as the global dispute resolution centre of choice for a growing number of international litigants.

 Senior judges here have stated recently that Brexit may in fact bolster London’s legal profession. That said, London now faces stiff competition from the likes of Singapore and Dubai, who may pull litigants away from London in the years ahead. It will be interesting to see the results of next year’s report.”

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