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Fletcher, Head of the Dispute Resolution Group and Head of Arbitration at LexisNexis, discusses a recently published memorandum,
‘English Law, UK Courts and UK Legal Services after Brexit: the view beyond 2019’, which was jointly authored by the judiciary, the Commercial Bar Association, the Law Society, CityUK and others.
In the immediate aftermath of the UK referendum on membership of the EU, it was notable that some figures within the international arbitration community forecast London’s decline as a leading seat of arbitration. For many practitioners, UK-based
or otherwise, such predictions were, perhaps, premature, misplaced and opportunistic. As the Lord Chief Justice of England & Wales, the Rt Hon. The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, stated during his Mansion House speech to Her Majesty’s Judges last
London will continue [post-Brexit] to be a leading arbitration centre. Our legal profession will continue to be expert and world-respected. Our judges will continue to be drawn from the highest ranks of that legal profession. They will continue to
be renowned for their expertise, impartiality and integrity. All the key features that made London into the leading centre for dispute resolution will continue unchanged.’
Although it is widely acknowledged that Brexit presents challenges to ‘UK Legal’ and the UK as whole, many see significant opportunities ahead for dispute resolution and arbitration in London and the rest of the UK. However, the purpose of
this post is not to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on London arbitration (information on this subject is available here) but rather to highlight the
‘English Law, UK Courts and UK Legal Services after Brexit: the view beyond 2019’ provides a reminder of some key factors to bear in mind, and also highlight, regarding the position of UK courts and legal services in a post-Brexit world.
That the judiciary is committed to ensuring that the UK and London maintain their reputation for world-leading dispute resolution services is also demonstrated by another judge-led initiative, the creation of the Business & Property Courts of
England & Wales (B&PCs), an intelligible umbrella term for the specialist jurisdictions of the High Court.
The B&PCs were launched in London on 4 July 2017, with LexisNexis supporting the Birmingham launch on 6 July (see our brochure for the event here) (with other launches taking place throughout July), ahead of 2 October 2017, when they formally come into effect. This spirit of modernisation is set to continue with initiatives such as the introduction of the Online Court and a clearly expressed intention to review and simplify litigation procedure, including, for example, disclosure. Beyond 2019, arbitration practitioners will also be looking to the ICCA 2020 Congress in Edinburgh, which is a fantastic opportunity to promote Scotland’s arbitration offering and UK legal.
According to the memo, the key factors which recommend the UK as a centre for dispute resolution include that:
As for the question, ‘Why arbitrate in London?’, the memo also provides compelling answers:
To the above list, one could also add:
Although concise, the memo provides a timely reminder to UK Legal, as well as its supporters and detractors from across the globe, that we’re open for business and that the reasons why parties the world over choose English law to govern their contracts
and London as their seat of arbitration continue to be as strong and as relevant as ever. As the Lord Chief Justice implies, we have much to be proud of.
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Barry specialises in international arbitration and commercial litigation. He trained and practised at Jones Day before joining Pinsent Masons. At LexisNexis, Barry is Head of Arbitration and Head of the Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution Group.
In practice, Barry’s work included commercial, aviation and technology arbitrations pursuant to international arbitral rules, involving UK and international clients. He also has a background in general commercial, civil fraud and IT litigation, including experience before the High Court. While in private practice, Barry worked with a broad range of clients from the private and public sectors.
At LexisNexis, when not focused on the strategic development and operational requirements of the Dispute Resolution Group, Barry’s content work focuses on the law and practice of international commercial arbitration and investment treaty arbitration. In addition to his work for Lexis®PSL, Barry contributes to the LexisNexis Dispute Resolution Blog and New Law Journal on litigation and arbitration matters
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