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Speech by Chancellor of the High Court: The effect of Brexit on Financial Services Disputes in London

  1. May I start by thanking you for inviting me to join you this afternoon. I last gave a speech on this subject on 7 March 2019 to the International Bar Association’s Corporate Group’s London Summit. That was just three weeks away from Brexit day. Today, we are just under five months away from Brexit Day Mark III. One might be forgiven for thinking two things. First, that a considerable degree of uncertainty remains, and secondly that English judges remain the masters of understatement.
  2. The short answer to the question of what effect Brexit will have on Financial Services Disputes in London is that it will probably not, I think, have quite the dramatic effect that some people have suggested.
  3. There are a number of factors to consider, all of which you will be familiar with, as they have been discussed endlessly over the last three years: the newly established commercial courts in EU countries and beyond, the enforcement of UK judgments after Brexit, and the supposed reluctance of international business to specify English law and UK jurisdiction, to name but a few.
  4. In this short presentation, I want to examine first some of the issues that underlie a choice of law and jurisdiction, before considering the position of English law and UK jurisdiction after Brexit. Finally, I will say something about the future, with particular reference to the developments in FinTech, LawTech and RegTech that are about to change some of the essential foundations of international dispute resolution.

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