Brexit is ‘Christmas come early’ to foreign courts and lawyers

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Nov 24, 2017
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Britain is leaving the EU at a time when overseas jurisdictions were becoming increasingly competitive, a City lawyer has said


Foreign courts and litigation lawyers view the UK’s vote to leave the EU as “Christmas come early”, a leading City of London litigator has argued.

London’s commercial court needed urgently to reform its rules on disclosure to cut the high cost of litigation at a time when overseas jurisdictions were becoming increasingly competitive, the lawyer added.

The stark message came from Ed Crosse, chairman of the London Solicitors' Litigation Association and a partner at the City law firm Simmons & Simmons.

Crosse reiterated the arguments made in the association’s report released this month, which called for the disclosure rules to be reformed and simplified.

The association proposed the introduction of a “basic disclosure” rule that would involve the provision of key documents necessary to understand the case. In some cases lawyers would have to apply for “extended disclosure”, using five new models to replace the existing menu.

They would range from an order for “no disclosure” in relation to a particular issue, through to the widest disclosure currently available. In all cases, parties would be obliged to disclose known unhelpful documents to the other side.

At the association’s annual dinner last night, Crosse said that the easy part of the review exercise “was identifying what was wrong with the existing approach. The real challenge has been how to how to fix it”.

He added that his working group’s original “modest ambition” was to put part 31 of the civil procedure rules, which cover disclosure, “into a wind tunnel, to see which bits could be stripped away to achieve greater speed and efficiency, but in fact, what we ended up doing was completely rewriting the rule”.

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