According to Steven Philippsohn, Senior Partner of PCB Litigation, this country currently offers the best jurisdiction for court hearings and due to the UK’s centenary tradition in case law, judges’ impartiality and assurance of fair and independent processes.
In a recent interview with the Law Society Gazette, Steven welcomed the opening of the Rolls Building as the world’s biggest commercial court. Law professionals believe that this new infrastructure will cement even further the UK’s reputation as the key jurisdiction in which to bring commercial litigation.
‘The former premises were run-down and not fit for purpose. If we are going to conduct major dispute cases here, the least we can do is offer clients decent facilities’, said Steven Philippsohn.
He continued: ‘It is a well-know fact that four out of five cases that are heard in the Commercial Court have one party that is based outside the UK. There is certainly a well-recognised belief that at least 60% of the work of the Commercial and Chancery divisions is Russian and eastern European-based, and that that figure is unlikely to go down’.
One current example is the £3.2 billion lawsuit between Russian political exile Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich.
Another reason behind the predominance of the UK as a litigation centre lies in the promptness of judgments’ enforcements. Mr Philippsohn believes that enforcement tools are easier to access in the United Kingdom. Basing his opinion on his own professional experience he states that ‘you can get court orders from a UK court that you might not be able to get in other jurisdictions. The firm is involved in a number of cases where victims of fraud have been able to get worldwide freezing orders against a company so that assets are secured for possible financial redress, these kind of legal weapons are not always available – or at least not as readily – in other jurisdictions’.
But with so many foreign litigants still favouring to take their case to England, other countries have started to examine their legal systems and push for appropriate reforms to boost confidence. Steven believes that ‘if the Russians were able to create a greater degree of confidence in their own legal systems then parties would be more comfortable litigating there. At the moment, parties feel more comfortable resolving their disputes in the English court rather than their own domestic courts.’