England to build a business court

The world's biggest dedicated business court will be built in London. The new court will incorporate many of the parts of the court service relating to business litigation in a brand new building.

The Business Court will occupy a brand new building which will be called the Rolls Building and will be located on Fetter Lane near the Royal Courts of Justice.

"The new Business Court will house a world class institution to match the UK's world class reputation for business law which attracts cases from across the globe," said Lord Falconer, the Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor. "The UK's legal reputation in the business industry is already highly respected across the world: this tailor-made building will cement that reputation and put us head and shoulders above our world competitors."

Her Majesty's Court Service says that the current facilities are not able to cope with the demands made of them. The Commercial Court and the Technology Court are "no longer suitable for the volume of work the court handles," an HMCS statement said.

The Business Court will incorporate the work of a number of existing courts, including the Chancery Division, the Commercial Court, the Technology Court and the Construction Court. It will also deal with patent issues, trade mark disputes and international contract issues.

HMCS says that most of the courts are already housed together but in a building that some users find old and unsuitable for the kind of modern use to which it is put.

The new building will house 29 court rooms, 12 hearing rooms for bankruptcy hearings, 44 consultation rooms and better waiting rooms for users.

"This will bring the court into the 21st century and make the reality match the international expectations of clients who choose London as the forum for their international disputes," said Les Christy, a barrister with Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM.

"The pre-eminent international reputation for commercial dispute resolution, and thus its contribution to the success of the business of the City, has been in danger of being undermined from poor courtroom and support facilities," said the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman John Stuttard. "The new Business Court will ensure that London can build on its reputation as the leading centre for commercial dispute resolution and can continue to compete internationally."

The courts involved process disputes under English law, which is very often the chosen jurisdiction even when neither party is English. English is the most common language of international law and the court system is seen as being independent and trustworthy.

Business cases in Scotland are dealt with by Sheriff Courts and, for more serious cases, by the Court of Session, said litigation expert David Woods of Pinsent Masons. Within the Court of Session, which tries the most serious civil cases, there are several specialist courts for commercial matters, said Woods.