Particular advantages of English law and jurisdiction

It is common for commercial contracts to specify English law should be the governing law of the contract, even where the parties have no connection with England. There are many reasons for this, including that: it is well known by businesses across the world; it is well developed and therefore offers a high degree of certainty – owing to the combination of a common law (precedent-based) system and the volume of disputes involving English law and courts; it allows contracts to be interpreted in their commercial context, and has at its heart the principle of contractual autonomy; and the English common law and equitable principles are flexible enough to allow the courts to deal with unexpected situations.

The High Court of England and Wales is used to hearing high value, complex commercial disputes (including those involving conflict of law and jurisdiction issues. The High Court has specialist divisions which have expertise in dealing with particular types of disputes and industries. Other advantages include: the courts have highly experienced and able lawyers as judges; the court system is widely respected for its independence and impartiality; the courts do not, in general, grant punitive damages and awards are set by judges, not juries; proceedings are conducted in English, the language of commerce; cases proceed (relatively) efficiently and expediently, with judges taking a proactive approach to case and cost management; the English courts are used to granting interim injunctions, in support of preserving assets and enforcing judgments; and the English procedures for disclosure of documents and cross-examination of witnesses are considered by many to be an important part of obtaining justice.

Another benefit of litigating in England and Wales is the availability of certain costs protection mechanisms which can help reduce the risk of litigating. These include after the event insurance to cover your own disbursements and the other side’s legal costs, if you lose and third party funding to cover your costs in return for a fee payable from any proceeds recovered from the other side. The third party funding market in England and Wales is highly developed.

These materials are written and provided for general information purposes only. They are not intended and should not be used as a substitute for taking legal advice. Specific legal advice should be taken before acting on any of the topics covered.

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