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Law Society research confirms London is most attractive centre for commercial litigation and international arbitration

By Gazette Reporter >>

(30 October 2023)

London is still the most attractive centre for commercial litigation and international arbitration, outperforming other global dispute resolution hubs, the Law Society confirms in a new report published today. 

The report on the global position of English law finds that the London Commercial Court is the leading centre for international commercial litigation and London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) the leading centre for international arbitration.

Both forums are well ahead of jurisdictions competing for international work. The London Commercial Courts delivered 172 written judgments between 2021-2022, compared with 101 in the New York Commercial Division and 26 in the Singapore International Commercial Court. The London Court of International Arbitration made 423 appointments of arbitrators in 2022, compared with 340 in Singapore and 159 in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile the value of the UK’s legal services continues to rise on an annual basis, with exports increasing by almost half a billion pounds to £6.648bn in 2021. UK-headquartered firm DLA Piper brought in the most revenue between 2021-2022, followed by magic circle firm Clifford Chance.

The Society described the report as an ‘objective, neutral, evidence-based assessment’. It is intended to be used as a practical tool for firms and members who wish to attract business or inform their clients about the widespread use of English law.

The report also found:

  • The UK continues to maintain strong ties with the US legal market: 59 firms with headquarters in America have offices in London and the majority of UK trade – legal services imports and exports – is with the US.
  • The European Union is the UK’s most valuable trading bloc for legal services, accounting for £2.15bn in exports from the UK in 2021.
  • Almost half (37 out of 77) of contested trials across all divisions of London Commercial Court were completed within four working days between October 2021 and September 2022.
  • English law governs trillions of pounds in over-the counter derivatives transactions and metals trading annually, in addition to billions of pounds in M&A transactions and insurance contracts.

Society president Nick Emmerson said: ‘The UK is currently the second largest market for legal services globally. It is recognised and respected the world over because of the stability and quality of our courts, our laws and legal professionals.

‘Our report shows that in an increasingly competitive global market, London’s commercial courts continue to thrive. English law is the governing law of choice in international transactions and a vital asset to the UK’s economy.’

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)