Brexit will send our work to Germany, litigation specialists fear

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Jul 28, 2017
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London’s position as a leading venue for dispute resolution is also threatened by rising costs, lawyers said

John Sibley/Reuters

Nearly 40 per cent of litigation solicitors are predicting a “significant flight of work from the UK” once the country leaves the EU, a survey of London specialists has found.

Research published today by the London Solicitors Litigation Association found that of the 38 per cent of specialists that predicted work would leave the UK, a quarter said that Germany was the likely destination. Another quarter suggested Singapore, especially in relation to arbitration work.

The researchers found that Brexit was not the only thing worrying London litigation lawyers. The other main threat to London’s position as a leading venue for dispute resolution was rising costs, they said. 

Lawyers blamed the English disclosure regime for that inflation. More than 70 per cent of respondents described the disclosure process as ineffective and contributing to rising costs. Lawyers also pointed to an unwillingness on the part of litigating parties to narrow the scope of disclosure in appropriate cases. They told the researchers that courts should take a more active role in controlling the disclosure process.

“There is a demand for procedural reforms,” Ed Crosse, the association’s president and a partner at the City of London law firm Simmons & Simmons, said. He said litigants had welcomed the introduction of fast track procedures, such as the shorter and flexible trials scheme, and the establishment of the specialist financial list.

“But more needs to be done,” said Crosse, “We need to be bold in the steps that we take to modernise our procedures with a view to minimising costs and delay. If we do this, London can be confident of continuing to enjoy its unique status as the world’s preeminent litigation centre, long into the future.”

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