Speech by the Chancellor of the High Court to the Bar Council Conference: Leading the Charge – our international position

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1. The blurb in the conference brochure says that “[a]s the UK leaves the EU and seeks new trade agreements with other nations, the opportunities for international growth in and outside Europe are plentiful”. We are to discuss the UK’s future role in the international legal market, and how the UK can remain a leading global centre for dispute resolution.

2. I have no doubt that the UK’s jurisdictions can and will remain a go-to place for international commercial litigants, and that English law will remain one of the most important respected legal systems in the world. I will try to explain briefly why I say this.

3. There are essentially 4 reasons as follows:-
(1) The integrity of the UK’s judges and of the UK’s judicial systems is undoubted, and will continue to be respected globally.
(2) The UK’s lawyers are widely respected for their quality, integrity, and pragmatism. These are things that will not change as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU.
(3) London arbitration supported by the Commercial Court and Business and Property Courts will continue to provide an efficient and popular service for international business.
(4) The UK can and will bring about technologically-based reforms of its business justice system to make them fit for the 21st century and for the age of big data, a ubiquitous internet, smart systems, artificial intelligence, smart contracts and the blockchain.