A new specialist Financial List is to be introduced in the High Court from 1 October. It will deal with financial markets claims for more than £50 million, or which require particular expertise in the financial markets, or which raise issues of general importance in the financial markets. Nominated Financial List judges will receive ongoing training relating to developments in the financial markets.

Each case will be assigned to a docketed judge, who will manage the case from cradle to grave. Parties will be able to commence proceedings in the Financial List in either the Commercial Court or the Chancery Division, but in either case it is broadly Commercial Court procedures that will apply.

There is also a new test case scheme, which will be piloted from 1 October for a period of two years. The scheme is intended to deal with claims that raise issues of general importance to the financial markets in relation to which immediately relevant authoritative English law guidance is needed. Claims can be brought, by mutual agreement, between market participants with opposing interests in relation to the relevant issue, but without requiring a present cause of action. The court must be satisfied that the arguments of all those with opposing interests will be properly put before the court, and for that purpose may allow relevant trade, professional or regulatory bodies, or affected third parties, to be joined as a party or otherwise represented. The general rule will be that each party bears its own costs.

The changes follow on from a consultation in May this year, but the relevant rules and practice directions have only recently been published.