Global tribunal for bank disputes to launch in The Hague next year

A global financial disputes tribunal to settle complex international disputes is set to be created in The Hague next year.

The launch, which is slated for the first half of next year, comes as a result of a roundtable featuring leading lawyers and financial experts held at the Peace Palace in The Hague yesterday (25 October).

The meeting, which was organised by Dutch not-for-profit organisation World Legal Forum (WLF), was chaired by former Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf of Barnes (pictured).

Representatives of the European Central Bank, the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Federal Reserve were among delegates from 14 countries discussing the initiative.

The tribunal will be made up of a panel of recognised international market experts in finance and will provide judges and advisers to resolve cases through either mediation or arbitration.

The tribunal will aim to resolve the increasing number of intricate global financial disputes – particularly those resulting from complex financial products such as derivatives.

It will focus on disputes between financial institutions such as banks, insurance firms and pension funds but could also consider disputes between institutions, such as clearing houses and exchanges and their customers or institutions and regulators.

Lord Woolf commented: “This initiative would be a massive step forward, which would benefit financial markets around the globe.”

Jeffrey Golden, a visiting professor of law at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a member of the WLF advisory board, said: “The world’s biggest financial cases are too serious, too complicated and too important for most ordinary courts to cope with. This tribunal would have the expertise and the authority to help the world establish a settled and watertight body of law in the financial sector.”

He added: “The financial crisis has been an epidemic which has left many market patients sick or even terminally ill. Better financial regulation is the preventative medicine but in the meantime the courts are our hospitals and we should ensure that they are efficient and that we have the qualified staff to run them.”