With many members and users of the financial markets choosing English law to govern their relationships and recognising the United Kingdom as a global financial hub, a new court has been set up in London to deal with disputes between them. The October 1 2015 launch of the Financial List is primarily intended to meet the needs of the international financial community, to ensure that cases are heard by judges with particular relevant expertise and to provide fast, efficient and high-quality dispute resolution of claims relating to the financial markets.

What types of claim will the new court deal with?

The Financial List will deal with claims:

  • relating to loans, project finance, banking transactions, derivatives, complex financial products, financial benchmarks, capital and currency controls, bank guarantees, bonds, debt securities, private equity deals, hedge fund disputes, sovereign debt, clearing and settlements worth more than £50 million; and
  • irrespective of value, claims:
    • requiring particular expertise in the financial markets; or
    • raising issues of general importance to the financial markets.

The real innovation of the Financial List is its pilot 'test case' scheme. This will allow proceedings to be commenced in a market case where "immediately relevant authoritative" guidance is required on a point of English law, but where there is no actual dispute between the parties. The parties are required only to "be actively in business in the relevant market" and have opposing interests. In appropriate cases, a relevant trade body or association may be joined to ensure that the arguments of all interested parties are properly put before the court. In such cases, the parties must seek to agree the facts and costs will not generally be awarded.

Who will deal with claims?

Ten dedicated judges with particular expertise in these types of case are assigned to the Financial List. The judicial team will receive regular focused training on market events and developments from the Financial Markets Law Committee.

A single judge will be allocated to an individual case for all purposes, including case management and pre-trial applications, the trial itself and (unusually) enforcement.

Parties may influence the choice of judge by making written representations to the chancellor and judge in charge of the Commercial Court List (who will jointly decide which judge will deal with which case), identifying either the relevant issues which must be resolved (of which an individual judge may have particular expertise) or any other matters considered relevant to judge allocation.

What rules will apply?

Although Financial List claims can be brought in the Commercial Court or Chancery Division, the rules and guidance of the Commercial Court will apply by default.

For further information on this topic please contact Andrew Briggs at Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP by telephone (+44 20 3349 8700) or email (briggsa@gtmlaw.com). The Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP website can be accessed at www.gtlaw.com.

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