Who Uses the Commercial Court? – 2014

Who Uses the Commercial Court? – 2014

Portland’s annual report on the usage of the Commercial Court of England and Wales has found that Middle Eastern litigants are catching up with Eurasia, while the proportion of British litigants continues to decline.

Our research shows that over 75% of litigants using the Commercial Court between April 2013 and March 2014 were foreign nationals. The highest regional representation was from Europe and Eurasia. The research also shows that the number of litigants from the Middle East and North Africa doubled in the last year.

The research was launched last year and has recorded the nationalities of the parties involved in a total of 846 judgments (141 in the last year) from the Commercial Court of England and Wales since March 2008.

Idil Oyman, Head of Portland’s Legal Disputes practice, said:

“Our study shows that Middle Eastern entities may catch up with Eurasian oligarchs in their preference for using the British courts to resolve disputes. Between March 2013 and 2014 litigants from the MENA region accounted for 11% of litigants utilising the Commercial Court, including the notable case brought by the Saudi investor Basma Al Sulaiman against Credit Suisse Securities.

“This is in line with the trend we’ve seen showing the increasing domination of international parties litigating in London. European litigants continue to be the top users of the courts, accounting for 29% of all cases, but this is the first time that MENA countries, the UAE and Bahrain in particular, are in the top 10.”

Who Uses the Commercial Court 2014 also found:

  • Between April 2013 and March 2014 76.8% of litigants using the commercial court were foreign, up from 70.6% in the April 2012 to March 2013 year
  • There was an increase in the number of litigants from Eurasia (11.5%), MENA (10.9%), North America (8.6%), and sub-Saharan Africa (5.4%)
  • Eurasian and MENA litigants made up at least one named party in 59 and 56 judgments, respectively
  • Europe (excluding the UK) remained the region with the highest proportion of litigants (24.3%)
  • Only 23.2% of all parties were British, showing a 48% overall decline since March 2008
  • There were 66 countries, across 15 regions[1], represented in the Commercial Court over the last year
  • Excluding the UK, the top nationalities litigating (claimants + defendants) in the Commercial Court in the last year came from: the US (42), Russia (30), Kazakhstan (25), Switzerland (23), the United Arab Emirates (14), India (14), the British Virgin Islands (12), Panama (11), Bahrain (10), Germany (10)

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Click here to see our interactive map showing the changing nationalities of the parties involved in judgements at the Commercial Court of England and Wales over the past six years, or download our infographic below.

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Portland’s Legal Disputes practice specialises in managing high-stakes and sensitive issues for individuals, corporations and institutions involved in a legal dispute.

Download the ‘Who Uses the Commercial Court’ infographic as a PDF.

Written by

Idil Oyman