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London’s commercial courts still a favourite amongst overseas litigants

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The recent Commercial Courts Report 2019 by Portland Communications sheds an interesting light onto the types of litigation and commercial legal actions being bought in London, and the nationalities of those bring such claims.

Whilst UK citizens still form the majority of claimants (407 in 2019), the next five highest number of litigants by nationality for the period March 2018 to March 2019 were the USA (37), Kazakhstan (36), Russia (29), India (29) and Ukraine (25). The period in the report saw London’s commercial courts hearing 258 cases, with 60% of the litigants coming from outside of the UK.

The report highlights the continued trend of Kazak, Russian and Ukrainian individuals opting for London as their preferred litigation location, with many cases being in connection with fraud and contract disputes. High profile litigants have included Igor Kolomoisky, a businessman who was a defendant in three separate cases and Russian businessman Vitaly Orlov, known as the ‘Cod King’, who was involved in a high-profile dispute surrounding control of a fishing company.

Commenting on the report, a spokesperson for Radcliffe Chambers said:

CIS litigation is probably its own bubble and, more generally, what the statistics cannot tell us is how many of these international disputes arose from contracts concluded before 2016’s Brexit referendum,’ he said. ‘The real test will be how many contracts made since then have chosen courts in other countries to resolve future disputes because of concerns about difficulties of enforcement in the EU."

The report confirms that London will likely remain as the litigation jurisdiction of choice for overseas litigants, despite growing competition from countries such as Singapore and Dubai. London courts are seen as being free of the corruption that can materialise in other courts, leaving foreign litigants with concerns about other jurisdictions.

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