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29 November 2017

London litigation lawyers call for reform if city is to remain a legal hub

London litigation lawyers are upping the ante in the race to maintain the UK's status as a legal hub as Brexit lurks.

Chris Dorney

In the face of Brexit – and the challenge and threat that it presents to the litigation profession in England & Wales - reform of the Civil Procedure Rules, and the disclosure regime in particular, will be central to winning the race against increasing competition from overseas Courts and Tribunals, according to the London lawyers.

First port of call

Speaking at the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA), president and partner at international law firm Simmons & Simmons, Ed Crosse, said the organisation was the first port of call for a number of judge-led reforms, particularly the proposed overhaul of disclosure rules. He also emphasised the importance of continuing the close partnership between the legal profession and judiciary on reform initiatives to maintain the world-leading status of our courts in England and Wales


Mr  Crosse discussed the reform proposals announced earlier this month and outlined how these proposals seek to modernise and reform the current rules on disclosure in the Business and Property Courts.He said identifying the problems with the current disclosure regime was the easy part of the exercise for the Working Group; the real challenge was how to fix them.  Explaining the proposals had attracted ‘considerable attention’, and ‘support’ from clients and the profession, Mr Crosse said that the collaborative work of the legal profession and judiciary in helping to shape these rules, should mean that they stand a good chance of working for all.

Greater speed and efficiency

'The Working Group started out with the modest intention of putting Part 31 into a wind tunnel, to see which bits could be stripped away to achieve greater speed and efficiency, but in fact, what we ended up doing was completely re-writing the rule.The proposed rules will, if accompanied by a change in culture and behaviours by the profession and judiciary, materially contribute to a more efficient and effective administration of Civil Justice.That, in turn, may help to mitigate some of the challenges that our Civil Justice system is now facing as a result of Brexit and, in particular, increased competition from Courts and Tribunals overseas, who regard the Brexit vote as ‘Christmas come early’,' he said.

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