With effect from 1 October 2015 a Financial List will be established to provide parties to particularly complex or high value financial disputes, or cases that raise issues concerning domestic or financial markets, with access to experienced business judges. The same judge will manage the case from beginning to end. Judges from the Commercial Court and Chancery Division have been assigned to hear these cases.
A new Civil Procedure Rule (63A.1) provides that cases in the Financial List may be started in the Commercial Court or Chancery Division. The Rule also specifies the types of claim for which the list is designed:
- Claims for more than £50m which principally relate to loans, project finance, banking transactions, derivatives and complex financial projects, financial benchmarks, capital or currency control, bank guarantees, bonds, debt securities, private equity deals, hedge fund disputes, sovereign debt or clearing settlements
- Claims which require particular expertise in the financial markets
- Claims which raise issues of general importance for the financial markets.
"Financial markets" includes fixed income markets, (repos, bonds ,credit derivatives, debt security and commercial paper generally), the equity markets, the derivatives markets, the loan markets, the foreign currency markets and the commodities markets.
Financial Test Case Scheme
Also starting on 1 October 2015, as part of the Financial List, is a 2 year pilot Financial Markets Test Case Scheme. Claims which fall within the pilot may be determined without the need for a present cause of action between the parties to the proceedings. Only matters of general importance to the financial markets, in relation to which authoritative English law guidance is needed, will qualify. The parties, who must both be actively in business in the relevant financial market, must agree that the claim should be so determined and "will seek to agree the facts". Practice Direction 51M will govern the pilot.