Using London as a dispute resolution centre


London is one of the world’s leading centres for dispute resolution. It offers a range of dispute resolution mechanisms through the Courts, arbitration and mediation. Combar’s members have extensive expertise in advising on London’s various dispute resolution mechanisms.

The Commercial Court

The Commercial Court is one of a number of specialist jurisdictions of the High Court of England and Wales. The business of the Commercial Court is broad. It extends to any claim relating to the transaction of trade and commerce (including commercial agreements, import and export, carriage of goods by sea, land and air, banking and financial services, insurance and reinsurance, markets and exchanges, commodities, oil, gas and natural resources, the construction of ships, agency, arbitration and competition matters).

The work of the Commercial Court has long been international in nature. In 2018/2019, international cases accounted for around 75% of the Court’s business (source: The Commercial Court Report 2018-2019). Many parties choose to include an English jurisdiction clause and/or English governing law clause in their contracts, reflecting their belief in the sophistication, fairness and certainty of English law and procedure. In 2018, international exports generated by barristers contributed £327 million to the UK economy.

Since 2011, the home of the Commercial Court has been the Rolls Building on Fetter Lane, which houses the Business and Property Courts (Commercial Court (QBD), Technology and Construction Court (QBD) and the Chancery Division). The Rolls Building is the largest specialist centre for the resolution of financial, business and property litigation anywhere in the world. The Rolls Building offers 31 courtrooms (including 3 very large “super courts”), 11 hearing rooms, 55 consultation rooms and state of the art IT infrastructure.

Arbitration

London is a leading centre of international arbitration. Many of the world’s most respected arbitrators are current or former English barristers, including Queen’s Counsel and retired English judges, with experience of working for the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA). In 2018, over 40,000 commercial and civil disputes were resolved in the UK through arbitration and mediation. Combar members are regularly instructed as advocates in both LCIA and ICC arbitrations, as well as in litigation related to arbitration. A significant proportion of the claims issued in the Commercial Court (roughly 30%) relate to matters arising out of arbitration (source: The Commercial Court Report 2018-2019).

Alternative Dispute Resolution

ADR is increasingly being used to resolve commercial disputes. It is encouraged by the Commercial Court and pre-trial timetables will make provision for it if requested by the parties. Increasing numbers of Combar members are qualified, and have substantial experience, as mediators. Many others regularly act as advocates or representatives of clients in the mediation process.