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Gates set to open for new financial court in London

A newly created financial court at the Rolls Building in London, the first of its kind in the City and a sales pitch for the English courts, will open next Monday, 5 October.

Given London’s status as one of the world’s leading finance centres and the barrage of financial services disputes filling the English courts, with 40% of cases going through the Commercial Court, The Chancery Division and the Technology and Construction Court stemming from the finance market, the judiciary has moved to create a specialist court to handle this litigation.

From next Monday, financial disputes that set a precedent for behaviour in the market or are worth over £50m, will be able to go through the Financial List presided over by a small group of judges specialised in the field. Derivatives, FX and the commodities markets will all be covered by the new financial court, which will become the go-to venue for legal precedent on new financial products.

Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas, spearheaded the creation of the specialist court in the hope that it would ‘provide the necessary environment for economic activity to thrive’. He said in a speech at Mansion House in July that the new regime for financial services disputes will make sure banks ‘order their affairs on the basis of a sure knowledge of their rights and obligations in the market place’.

The new financial court will hold a test case procedure to quickly solve market issues on when there is no previous authoritative English law precedent. Banks will be able to test market behaviour and understanding without having to file a dispute and revealing the full impact of the decision.

There will be 10 judges presiding over the Financial List, five from the Commercial Court and five from the Chancery Division. Cases will be dealt with by a docketed judge who will manage the case from inception, through the pre-trial stages, through trial and even enforcement.

Ted Greeno, a partner at litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, told Legal Business: ‘Having a separate list over which judges with deep expertise in disputes under financial instruments will preside can only enhance London’s attractiveness both as a forum for resolving international disputes and as an international financial centre.

There are enough financial markets cases to justify a list with specialist judges and concentrating judicial expertise in this way will give users even greater confidence that they will get a fair and  informed decision on financial disputes.’