As many of you know I was Presiding Judge on the Western Circuit between 2011 and 2014 and so spent a good deal of time in this great city, including sitting on cases in this building. For that reason, it is a pleasure to be here this morning to launch the B & P courts in Bristol.
Our laws and legal system have recently and very properly been described as ‘a vital national asset’. Our courts are central to that system. They contribute to our global influence and our national wealth. They secure that surest public good: the rule of law.
No system can, however, rest on its laurels. That is as true of our justice system as it is of any other endeavour. Competition between justice systems is increasingly common, not least where commercial and business disputes are concerned. Choice of law and choice of venue make such disputes truly international. Increasingly choice of venue involves taking account of the courts, the judiciary and the legal profession of a jurisdiction before a choice is made.