Friday, October 31, 2008

Do London courts have to fear a flood of claims?

In an interview with the FT (published here) former attorney general Lord Goldsmith warned that the flood of claims that could result from the finance crisis could overwhelm the ressources of London's courts.

After steping down from his position as attorney general Lord Goldsmith took on the role as "European Chair of Litigation" with US law firm Debevoise & Plimpton (a firm where I also had a short stint when I came to London). Lord Goldsmith sees that London's reputation as an international centre for settling commercial disputes could suffer if the courts do not prepare for the increase in litigation.

He quotes difficulties to find a room in the courts that are large enough to hold hearings in large multi-party cases.

The FT, however, notes that the wave of litigation expected after the collapse of Northern Rock has not materialised. The paper quotes lawyers sayint that there were some exisitig cases, but that the parties involved were reluctant to go to court because of the costs, but also beacuse of possible reputational damage.

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