Media Briefing Note: The new Financial List – a thoughtful reorganisation of the Commercial Court and Chancery, says Hogan Lovells

29 September 2015 - The new Financial List in the Rolls Building, London

A new specialist court list handling the most complex financial markets court claims will come into force on 1st October.

The Financial List (FL) will be situated in the Rolls Building, London, and will operate as a joint initiative between the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division. 

The main aim is to ensure that cases which would benefit from being heard by judges with particular expertise in financial markets or which raise issues of general importance to financial markets are dealt with by judges with suitable knowledge and experience. 

Cases will have a judge assigned to them for the life of the proceedings, including trial and, possibly, any enforcement action.

Commenting on the Financial List, Jon Holland, global co-head of financial services litigation, said:

"This is a thoughtful and welcome reorganisation of the excellent resources already available in the Commercial Court and Chancery, which pools and aligns financial-specific judicial expertise to appropriate cases.

"Having a single judge with the appropriate background, experience, and understanding of complex financial structures and products to take a case through the various steps up to and including trial, is a real step forward."

The FL is available to any claim which:

  1. principally relates to loans, project finance, banking transactions, derivatives and complex financial products, financial benchmark, capital or currency controls, bank guarantees, bonds, debt securities, private equity deals, hedge fund disputes, sovereign debt, or clearing and settlement - and is for more than £50 million or equivalent;
  2. requires particular expertise in the financial markets; or
  3. raises issues of general importance to financial markets.

In addition, there is a new test case scheme for "financial markets issues where immediately relevant authoritative English law guidance is needed".  It will enable issues to be brought before the court by interested parties even though there is no dispute between them.  In appropriate cases a relevant trade body or association may join as a party or otherwise be represented, and the general rule will be that there will be no order as to costs.  This scheme will run for two years from 1 October 2015.

Rachel Kent, head of Hogan Lovells' Financial Institutions Group, said:

"The test case scheme is something which will need to be seen in action in order to assess its effectiveness.

"Theoretically, one can see that the procedure provides an opportunity to resolve areas of uncertainty and ambiguity without waiting for a fact specific claim to arise, and we look forward to seeing how this will work in practice."

The Rolls Building is already recognised as the world's largest dedicated business court – housing the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division and the Technology and Construction Court. The introduction of a dedicated FL should further cement London's place on the international dispute resolution stage in relation to financial services litigation. 

Michael Davison, global head of litigation at Hogan Lovells, said:

"As a leading financial services litigation firm, we welcome the introduction of the Financial List, and we look forward to being part of its success

"Equally, the new List is welcomed by our many world-class litigation teams advising in multiple sectors outside of financial services, who anticipate that Commercial Court and Chancery resources and time will be freed-up by this fast-track financial disputes service."

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