Commercial Court “actively looking” to hear cases outside London

Cockerill: Positively keen to come and sit on circuit

The judge in charge of the Commercial Court has said she is “actively looking” for cases that can be heard outside of London.

“In the future we want to see cases tried where they can best be heard for the parties and for that dispute,” said Mrs Justice Cockerill

In a speech at Liverpool University Law school celebrating the contribution of Liverpool to commercial litigation, she said it was “wonderful” that the city now has a specialist Circuit Commercial Court judge, His Honour Judge Neil Cadwallader.

Cockerill J went on: “We also have the broader church of the other Business and Property Courts (BPCs)… The BPCs are still a relatively recent innovation, but they have huge advantages for litigation outside London.

“Local businesses can bring all their disputes to specialist judges here in Liverpool, whether the problem is a contractual dispute, a construction dispute, a property or intellectual property issue.

“And we are very keen that users know that the local courts are fully supported by the High Court bench. I must make it very clear that we are positively keen to come and sit in suitable disputes locally.”

She said Mr Justice Fancourt, who as Vice-Chancellor of the Chancery Division supervises the local BPCs, was often in Liverpool and “as far as the Commercial Court goes we have a lot of volunteers for suitable cases outside London”.

Cockerill J said: “We are actively looking for Circuit Commercial cases which we can hear; I heard one in Newcastle, we have others on our list for hearing within the next year.

“Next week I am off to Birmingham to hear a three week Commercial Court trial where the business in question is local and most of the witnesses are based in the area.

“In the future we want to see cases tried where they can best be heard for the parties and for that dispute.”

Last week, we reported Mr Justice Fordham in the Administrative Court saying that the freedom of parties to choose their lawyers should not “transform into an ability to choose a venue”.

In moving a judicial review hearing from London to Leeds, he said the fact that all the lawyers involved were in London was a factor but not determinative.

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