'We need a radical re-examination of procedure' - the risks facing London's disputes centre status

Reducing the costs associated with disclosure is one of the biggest challenges facing the UK’s commercial courts, according to High Court judge Mr Justice Popplewell. 

Popplewell (pictured), who was speaking at Legal Week‘s Commercial Litigation & Arbitration Forum earlier today (2 November), said that providing “a first-class service at a lower cost” would be crucial to ensure a successful future for the commercial Bar, and that lawyers and the wider business community should be looking at ways to do this.

He said: “Cost of disclosure is a common complaint from the business community. This cannot only be addressed by procedural reforms from the court – the business community can and should be thinking about reducing costs of disclosure.”

He told a packed audience at the Waldorf Hilton in London that a “radical re-examination” of procedure was needed in order for London to retain its position as a leading international centre for dispute resolution, drawing on the example of witness statements as one potential area for procedural reform and cost savings. 

Other challenges referenced by Popplewell include the length of time it takes for cases to be heard and the “unavoidable” threat of Brexit. 

Popplewell was delivering the keynote address at today’s forum, where a host of private practice and in-house speakers gathered to discuss matters including disclosure, Brexit and cybersecurity.

The event is being chaired by Slaughter and May disputes partner Sarah Lee and White & Case London partner John Reynolds, with other speakers including Vodafone group general counsel Rosemary Martin from Vodafone and Clifford Chance partner Simon Davis, who moderated a panel discussion on what makes a great litigator in today’s world.

Click here for more information on the event.

  • High Court judge Mr Justice Knowles and Mr Justice Blair, judge in charge of the Commercial Court, are among a big-name line-up of speakers at the LegalWeek Connect event later this month. Click here to register for the event.