A new, specialist financial court, the Financial List, opened in the Rolls Building in London in October 2015. It will hear disputes: (i) worth £50 million or more relating to loans, project finance, banking transactions, derivatives and complex financial products, financial benchmarks, capital or currency controls, bank guarantees, bonds, debt securities, private equity deals, hedge fund issues, sovereign debt, clearing and settlement; or (ii) which require particular expertise in financial markets or raise issues of general importance to the financial markets.
The rules governing the procedure in the Financial List largely mirror those in the Commercial Court.
The Financial List aims to streamline finance sector disputes and improve the speed and efficiency with which those disputes are processed. It is presided over by ten judges (five from the Commercial Court and five from the Chancery Court), all of whom have expertise in financial disputes.
The Financial List will also conduct a pilot Financial Markets Test Case Scheme for two years to enable the resolution of market issues in relation to which “immediately relevant authoritative English law guidance” is required, without the need for formal Court proceedings to be issued. The Scheme will hopefully provide parties with a cost effective procedure to obtain quick and clear guidance in respect of issues of public interest.
The creation of the Financial List is a positive signal that London remains the preeminent venue for international dispute resolution and reflects the important contribution made by the financial services industry to the UK economy.