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BrexitAt the date of writing this article, the EU has granted the UK a six-month extension, to Oct. 31, 2019, to leave the EU following the UK Parliament’s deadlock on the terms of its withdrawal. Although it is widely hoped that the UK will not leave the EU without a deal, the outcome remains uncertain. Irrespective of the outcome, questions continue to be asked about whether London will remain a major forum for resolving international disputes after Brexit. This article clarifies some misconceptions and provides comfort to international users of English law and the English courts. For the reasons explained below, the clear conclusion is that Brexit will have no meaningful, direct impact on any of the factors that contribute to English law and the English legal system being one of the two preferred systems of justice in international business dealings (the other being, of course, New York).

English law, and the courts that interpret and apply that law, have been favored by international businesses for decades. A feature of the caseload of the English commercial courts is that they deal with many disputes between parties who have no connection with the UK apart from their desire to take advantage of English justice. According to a report released by Portland Communications in 2018, the number of international cases heard in London by the principal commercial court rose by 7% in the year to April 2018 and the number of litigants by 22%, with 565 litigants from 69 countries, up from 62 countries in 2015/2016. There is no evidence that the Brexit turmoil has had any impact on this trend.

 

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