1. What is the objective of the Financial List?
Building on the combined expertise and experience of the Commercial Court and the Chancery Division, the objective of the Financial List is to develop further the provision of swift, efficient, specialist, and high quality financial dispute resolution.
The List helps ensure that cases which would benefit from being managed and heard by a Judge with particular expertise and experience in the law relating to the financial markets, or which raise issues of general importance to the financial markets, are dealt with by Judges with suitable expertise and experience.
2. Is the Financial List a competitive response to other commercial dispute resolution facilities offered elsewhere in the world?
No. It is part of a continuing response to the choice of English Law and UK dispute resolution by commercial parties worldwide.
It builds from the existing strength and reputation of the Commercial Court and of the Chancery Division.
If the future is viewed simply as a competition between jurisdictions, and we act simply as a competitor, the world will not be as well served as it might be.
3. Is the Financial List now operational?
Yes. It became operational on 1 October 2015. Its introduction was announced by the Lord Chief Justice in his speech at the Mansion House in the City of London on 8 July 2015.
4. When do you anticipate the first case will be heard?
The first case was, at the request of the parties, transferred into the Financial List on Monday 12 October 2015 and is currently being heard by Blair J. It is a major case, between foreign parties, concerning derivatives transactions.
5. What do we mean by financial markets?
The definition is broad (see CPR 63A.1). It extends across the domestic and international financial markets. It includes fixed income, equity, derivatives, loan, FX and commodities markets, as well as complex banking transactions and sovereign debt.
6. What about, for example, a case concerning insurance or insolvency, or a shareholder dispute, if that involves a financial markets issue?
The Court has a general power to order cases into the Financial List which fall within the spirit but not the letter of the criteria in CPR 63A.
The Financial List Guide gives examples of cases concerning insurance, re-insurance or professional negligence, or a case falling within the normal specialist jurisdiction of the Companies Court (insolvencies, capital reductions, schemes of arrangement, as well as shareholder disputes like unfair prejudice petitions and equitable petitions). These cases will not generally fall within the definition of Financial List claims but if issues arising in such a case were to require financial markets expertise or were issues of general market importance, then it may be appropriate to issue the claim in the Financial List or transfer the case or part of it into the Financial List.
7. Is there a £50 million minimum value for a Financial List claim?
No. The Financial List is for claims of that value, but it is also for claims that require particular expertise in the financial markets, or claims that raise issues of general importance to the financial markets. There is no minimum value in those categories. See CPR 63A.1(2).
A low value claim or a claim affecting a small business may be suitable for the List if it raises an issue with market-wide consequences.
Even where a claim is for £50 million or more, the Financial List is not suitable if the claim is straightforward and requires no financial markets expertise.
8. Where are proceedings in the Financial List issued?
In the Rolls Building. They may be issued in the Commercial Court or the Chancery Division.
For cases issued in the Chancery Division listing arrangements will be made by the Chancery Listing Office. For cases issued in the Commercial Court listing arrangements will be made by the Commercial Court Listing Office.
CE File – the new electronic case management system used in Chancery Division, the Commercial Court and the Technology and Construction Court, will be used in Financial List cases. This allows more efficient handling and processing of data, and thereby the capturing, tracking, processing and reporting of court information. In due course an electronic filing capability that has already been piloted will be available.
9. Is it possible to transfer existing cases into the Financial List?
Yes. And it has already been done in one case, at the request of the parties.
10. Which Judges will hear cases in the Financial List?
Initially 12 Judges of the Commercial Court (of the Queen’s Bench Division) and the Chancery Division have been nominated.
Their names are at https://www.judiciary.uk/you-and-the-judiciary/going-to-court/high-court/financial-list/.
Judges nominated for the Financial List will also continue to sit in the Commercial Court (and Queen’s Bench Division) or the Chancery Division.
The number and identity of the Judges nominated for the Financial List is likely to change from time to time, in accordance with demand and to respect other judicial responsibilities.
11. Who decides which Judge will hear a particular case in the Financial List?
Overall responsibility for deciding which Judge will hear a particular case in the Financial List rests jointly with the Chancellor of the High Court and the Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court. They in turn are accountable to the Lord Chief Justice.
12. If the parties consider that a particular case requires a particular type of expertise or experience, may they indicate that?
Yes. The parties may not, however, express a preference for a particular Judge.
The Financial List itself operates as a single list but claims in it may be commenced in either the Commercial Court or the Chancery Division.
The parties are also free to write to the Chancellor of the High Court and the Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court briefly identifying the key issues in the case and any matters considered relevant to a decision on which judge to allocate. A procedure for this is described at paragraph 6.2 of the Financial List Guide.
Where possible, parties are encouraged to discuss these questions between themselves before writing, in order ideally to arrive at a shared view.
13. Who will case manage a case in the Financial List?
A High Court Judge, whether the claim is issued in the Chancery Division or the Commercial Court.
This includes enforcement, unless otherwise directed by the Court.
14. Will the case retain the same Financial List Judge throughout?
As far as possible, yes. The same Judge will manage the case throughout and hear it.
There may have to be exceptions, for example in circumstances of urgency, but it is intended that the principle of a designated or docketed Judge will be adhered to as far as possible.
15. What is the procedural code for the Financial List?
Subject to (limited) adjustments indicated in the short Guide to the Financial List, the procedure in the Commercial Court Guide applies, together with the Civil Procedure Rules.
There should be little or no learning curve for parties using the Financial List: the Commercial Court Guide is tried and tested, and will already be familiar to litigants and their representatives.
16. What is the appeal process?
Decisions in the Financial List have the same appeal process for other decisions of the Commercial Court or the Chancery Division.
17. What is the market test case procedure?
This is a procedure to facilitate the resolution of market issues to which immediately relevant authoritative English Law guidance is needed without the need for a present cause of action between the parties to the proceedings.
The procedure recognises that markets are most efficient when their actors have mechanisms to resolve uncertainties quickly and definitively.
The procedure is available now, on a pilot basis. The pilot provides a mechanism for the Court to grant declaratory relief on the grounds that it is in the public interest to do so.
The procedure is governed by CPR Practice Direction 51M.
The claim must be one which can be satisfactorily determined as a test case. The court will need to be satisfied that the arguments of all those with opposing interests in relation to the issues in question will be properly put before the court by those represented. The parties will seek to agree the facts.
In a case of particular importance or urgency the trial of a market test case may, at the court’s discretion, be heard by a court consisting of two Financial List Judges, or a Financial List Judge and a Lord or Lady Justice of Appeal.
18. May a market association or third party intervene?
In appropriate cases a relevant trade, professional or regulatory body or association, or a third party affected by the determination of the issues, may, with the permission of the court, be joined as a party or otherwise allowed to be represented.
19. Is there a channel to enable user feedback about the Financial List?
Yes. The Financial List will have a Users Committee to provide a forum in which matters can be raised and heard.
It is intended that membership of the committee should include representatives of legal and market associations, including General Counsel and senior litigators. The Judges of the Financial List will all be members of that Committee.