Justice William Blair, judge in charge of the Commercial Court, discusses the introduction of the new Financial List in the High Court of England and Wales at the offices of Brown Rudnick on Sept. 22.
Justice William Blair, judge in charge of the Commercial Court, discusses the introduction of the new Financial List in the High Court of England and Wales at the offices of Brown Rudnick on Sept. 22. (Rick Kopstein)

As business disputes grow in size and complexity, would a specialized court with judges who are experts in the matters, and who could speed up rulings and appeals, be a good idea in the United States?

That was among the topics at a discussion given last week by Sir William Blair, known in the courts as The Hon. Mr. Justice Blair, at the Times Square offices of Brown Rudnick.

Blair, the older brother of former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, explained the origin and the need for the Financial List, a new judicial venue that was established in the High Court of England and Wales last year. Blair serves as the judge in charge of the Commercial Court in the new Financial List.

The Financial List began in 2015 to hear and rule on complex business cases exceeding values of 50 million GBP, or about $64.9 million. It hears and rules on cases that deal with equities, fixed income, foreign exchange, derivatives, and commodities markets, as well as complex banking transactions and sovereign debt.

Its creation was spurred by the complexity of cases that take place in London, Blair told the estimated 30 attendees of the Sept. 22 event.

“We thought it was right for us because we get a disproportionate number of financial disparities because we [London] are a financial center,” he said. “It’s natural for us to think particularly of financial disputes, because here you have a vast economy that is generating commercial disputes right across the board whereas ours tend to be more specialized.”

Another hallmark of the Financial List is the fact that the judges are experienced in complex business cases, such as derivatives and sovereign debt, and that the appeal process can be expedited. Often in cases, an appeal can be heard within days of the first ruling by a two-judge panel.

“The aim is to resolve disputes quickly and definitively,” Blair said.

David Molton, a litigation and arbitration partner for Brown Rudnick, doubted that a Financial List in New York would work in the same way that it does in London— or would even be necessary.

“Our federal judges who get these cases all the time in handle them quite competently and expertly,” he said. “Also, the commercial bench of the New York State Supreme Court does a terrific job dealing with these sort of cases. I think that likely the need for a specialized financial bench is less and less apparent here than it would be in England.”

The Financial List meets at the Rolls Building in London ,and its bench consists of a total of 12 judges with five from the Commercial Courts, who are led by Blair and five judges from the Chancery Division. According to the Financial List website, the leader of the Chancery Division and its judges is the Rt. Hon. Sir Terence Etherton.

“So far, the cases range from derivatives to sovereign debt to the rights of trustees in financial transactions,” Blair said. “I wouldn’t say there is a theme [to Financial List cases], but there are quite a number of derivatives cases in our courts and in yours, with interest rates coming down to zero in 2008, we had a number of such cases. But we see a wide range of cases.”

Despite the vote that took place this summer for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, Blair said he doesn’t think the so-called “Brexit vote” will have an impact on the Financial List and its future docket. He said he believes London will remain a global financial capital and that new business disputes will continue to arise.

Since its creation in 2015, the Financial List heard eight cases in its first year and has ruled on 13 cases so far this year. “These are cases that demand a high degree of specialization to decide,” Blair said.

During a Q&A, Blair was asked if the Financial List could encourage “judge shopping” to find the most sympathetic jurist. He said the number of judges working on the Financial List—12 at the moment—would preclude this from happening. “That is something that all courts are very astute to avoid.”

Neil Micklethwaite, a litigation and arbitration partner at Brown Rudnick’s London and Paris offices, said the discussion was not meant to promote the idea of a Financial List in New York.

“I think [the meeting was inspired by] the connection between New York and London,” Micklethwaite said. “Cooperation and exchange of knowledge is a very important part of that. It’s for New York decide whether it wants to say” it would work for them.

Molton said the event was a way for New York to learn about jurisprudence in London, and vice versa.

“In terms of what Mr. Justice Blair said about the fact that London has a more particularized need for a sophisticated specialized financial court, I think is probably true and less apparent here and less needful here,” he said.

The event was cosponsored by the firm William Fry, which is based in Dublin and has offices in New York, London and California.

As business disputes grow in size and complexity, would a specialized court with judges who are experts in the matters, and who could speed up rulings and appeals, be a good idea in the United States?

That was among the topics at a discussion given last week by Sir William Blair, known in the courts as The Hon. Mr. Justice Blair, at the Times Square offices of Brown Rudnick .

Blair, the older brother of former United Kingdom Prime Minister Tony Blair, explained the origin and the need for the Financial List, a new judicial venue that was established in the High Court of England and Wales last year. Blair serves as the judge in charge of the Commercial Court in the new Financial List.

The Financial List began in 2015 to hear and rule on complex business cases exceeding values of 50 million GBP, or about $64.9 million. It hears and rules on cases that deal with equities, fixed income, foreign exchange, derivatives, and commodities markets, as well as complex banking transactions and sovereign debt.

Its creation was spurred by the complexity of cases that take place in London, Blair told the estimated 30 attendees of the Sept. 22 event.

“We thought it was right for us because we get a disproportionate number of financial disparities because we [London] are a financial center,” he said. “It’s natural for us to think particularly of financial disputes, because here you have a vast economy that is generating commercial disputes right across the board whereas ours tend to be more specialized.”

Another hallmark of the Financial List is the fact that the judges are experienced in complex business cases, such as derivatives and sovereign debt, and that the appeal process can be expedited. Often in cases, an appeal can be heard within days of the first ruling by a two-judge panel.

“The aim is to resolve disputes quickly and definitively,” Blair said.

David Molton, a litigation and arbitration partner for Brown Rudnick , doubted that a Financial List in New York would work in the same way that it does in London— or would even be necessary.

“Our federal judges who get these cases all the time in handle them quite competently and expertly,” he said. “Also, the commercial bench of the New York State Supreme Court does a terrific job dealing with these sort of cases. I think that likely the need for a specialized financial bench is less and less apparent here than it would be in England.”

The Financial List meets at the Rolls Building in London ,and its bench consists of a total of 12 judges with five from the Commercial Courts, who are led by Blair and five judges from the Chancery Division. According to the Financial List website, the leader of the Chancery Division and its judges is the Rt. Hon. Sir Terence Etherton.

“So far, the cases range from derivatives to sovereign debt to the rights of trustees in financial transactions,” Blair said. “I wouldn’t say there is a theme [to Financial List cases], but there are quite a number of derivatives cases in our courts and in yours, with interest rates coming down to zero in 2008, we had a number of such cases. But we see a wide range of cases.”

Despite the vote that took place this summer for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, Blair said he doesn’t think the so-called “Brexit vote” will have an impact on the Financial List and its future docket. He said he believes London will remain a global financial capital and that new business disputes will continue to arise.

Since its creation in 2015, the Financial List heard eight cases in its first year and has ruled on 13 cases so far this year. “These are cases that demand a high degree of specialization to decide,” Blair said.

During a Q&A, Blair was asked if the Financial List could encourage “judge shopping” to find the most sympathetic jurist. He said the number of judges working on the Financial List—12 at the moment—would preclude this from happening. “That is something that all courts are very astute to avoid.”

Neil Micklethwaite, a litigation and arbitration partner at Brown Rudnick ‘s London and Paris offices, said the discussion was not meant to promote the idea of a Financial List in New York .

“I think [the meeting was inspired by] the connection between New York and London,” Micklethwaite said. “Cooperation and exchange of knowledge is a very important part of that. It’s for New York decide whether it wants to say” it would work for them.

Molton said the event was a way for New York to learn about jurisprudence in London, and vice versa.

“In terms of what Mr. Justice Blair said about the fact that London has a more particularized need for a sophisticated specialized financial court, I think is probably true and less apparent here and less needful here,” he said.

The event was cosponsored by the firm William Fry, which is based in Dublin and has offices in New York , London and California.