Establishment of Financial List in the Commercial Court for High Value financial Disputes

By Michael Brown


Bird & Bird & First for Disputes

In order to retain their premier position in high value and complex dispute resolution for the international financial community, the UK courts are looking at creating what is to be called the Financial List for matters:

  • with claims of more than £50 million or equivalent;
  • which requires particular expertise in the financial markets; or
  • raises issues of general importance to domestic and international financial markets.

The proposal involves utilising the established expertise of the Chancery Court and the Commercial Court where all cases will be allocated a judge who will preside over all proceedings, including case management decisions, from the commencement of proceedings to the final trial and enforcement where necessary. Parties can argue whether the case should be heard by either a Commercial or Chancery Court judge. It is expected that there will be ten experienced business judges allocated to the Financial List, five from each of the Chancery Division and the Commercial Court.

What procedure will apply to Financial List cases?

It is proposed that the Financial List will be governed by the same procedure if heard in the Commercial or Chancery Court and that the Commercial Court listing office will deal with, and be the main contact for, all cases involved in the Financial List.

The Financial List aims to achieve several goals.

  • Capitalising on the perceived strengths of the English court system, in particular the quality of the judiciary, by creating a specialist group of judges to hear complex financial matters.
  • With the new test case procedure, the new Financial List will allow matters to be expedited, where, as a rule, each party will bear their own costs, allowing them greater control to manage their costs exposure.
  • The English courts, which are in a competitive marketplace for dispute resolution venues, will see this as a welcome innovation and will hope that potential litigants do likewise.

The latest consultation response request ended on the 29 May 2015. Click here for further information on the latest consultation documents.