A new Financial List in the High Court has been announced by the Lord Chief Justice in his recent Mansion House speech (available online here). The aim of the List will be to provide a faster and more efficient court process for financial claims.
This specialist List will hear financial claims of over £50 million and cases related to the domestic and international financial markets (namely equity, fixed income, derivatives, forex and commodities markets). This may also include certain professional negligence claims.
The List will draw on the experience of judges from both the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division and is likely to be in similar form to that discussed in a consultation document published earlier this year (available from the Chancery Bar Associationhere).
Parties will be able to commence proceedings in either Division, but following a case’s allocation to the List, it will be dealt with by a docketed judge from inception through to enforcement, if necessary.
It has been suggested that the new market test case procedure will allow issues to be brought before the court by interested parties without any actual claim for loss. The objective of that procedure will be to answer questions of English law where there is no existing precedent, but potentially wide ranging ramifications.
Questions remain as to how effective the court can be in answering theoretical legal questions. However, this is an exciting and ground-breaking step for the High Court aimed at maintaining its competitive international advantage in resolving complex financial disputes.
Summing up the new List, the Lord Chief Justice said:
“… the new list will not only encourage international litigants to continue to use our courts, the principles they embody and their jurisprudence, but in doing so they will help to raise standards. Setting the bar high here will help to raise the bar high across the world.”