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15 March 2013

Foreign lawyers encouraged to bring disputes to UK

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has launched an initiative urging tycoons and global companies to settle their disputes in London, following reports that some £3.5 billion is brought in annually from abroad by lawyers.

By James Barnes

London: a 'world centre' for legal services

The scheme follows last year’s £3bn battle between Russian billionaires Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich which, reports the Guardian, generated millions in legal fees for London lawyers.

Legal services

‘The City of London is known as a global capital of finance, but it is equally a world centre for legal services,’ said Mr Grayling.
According to the report, Russian, Saudi and Asian disputes have been flowing through London courts as litigants are keen to attain settlements under British justice.
British justice could also play a significant part in Saudi oil disputes, after the country expressed an interest in establishing a confidential arbitration centre in London. Meanwhile, Honduras has suggested it may use justice dispensed by the UK's privy council as a way of encouraging investors that justice will be upheld.

Regional firms

Mr Grayling was also keen to dispel any views that London will be exploited by wealthy foreigners while the rest of the UK will be left behind. He said: ‘The City's success is something that can be – and is being – shared across the UK, giving employment to 340,000 people across the country.
‘Regional law firms, especially those in the north-west, which contribute over £2bn to the economy, are competing more all the time with the international players in the City.’

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