Global position of English and Welsh law

Communicate the strengths and advantages of English and Welsh law to your clients, wherever they are in the world, with our first International Data Insights report.
English law is a vital asset to the UK’s economy. The UK is currently the second largest market for legal services globally.

Our research evaluates the position of London’s courts and arbitration centres compared to dispute resolution facilities in other jurisdictions, including New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Key findings from our 2022/3 research include:

  • London is the most attractive centre for commercial litigation and international arbitration, particularly in the maritime sector
  • English law governs trillions of pounds in over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives transactions and metals trading
  • UK legal services exports increased by almost half a billion to £6.648 billion in 2021 (ONS data)

(An OTC derivative is a financial contract between two parties with minimal intermediation or regulation.)

Download the full report (PDF 701 KB)

How to use this report

Our report is an objective, neutral and evidence-based assessment of the global position of English and Welsh law.

Infographic: Global role of English Law, England and Wales is a leading international legal centre, currently the second largest market for legal services globally | Checklist: Independent judiciary, reliable courts, predictable outcomes | UK legal services exports continue to rise each year. | 48% contester trials in London Commercial Courts completed in just four days | Value of English law in trade, deals and contracts:  English law is tried and tested as the governing law of choice for many international transactions, including financial services and commodities trade. Diagram with UK at centre of 8 different trades:  £545 trillion of global over-the-counter derivatives trading;  80% of global maritime deals from ship construction and leasing to shipping contracts the global market; London is the world’s largest insurance/ reinsurance hub; $76 billion of global oils and fats trading – 85% of the global market;  £80 billion of global grain  trade – 80% of the global market; £250 billion of  global mergers and acquisitions;  and £10 trillion of global metals trading in 2020. | Quote from Law Society president, Nick Emmerson:  "Our legal services sector is central to the UK’s place on the international stage as an ideal place to do business." | Download our global legal data report

It’s also a practical tool that you can use to inform your clients on the widespread use of English law and London’s commercial dispute resolution centres.

It shows how English law facilitates business and investment as the industry standard for international transactions across various sectors, including maritime and insurance

Share our report with prospective clients to highlight the benefits of using English and Welsh law to achieve their goals.

Download our infographic summary (PNG 690 KB) or share it online

Commercial dispute resolution

London is a global legal centre for international commercial disputes, with particular dominance in the maritime sector.

English law is chosen by commercial clients above other governing laws, with many choosing the London Commercial Courts (LCC) and/or the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) over competing courts and arbitration centres in other jurisdictions.

Almost half of contested trials in the London Commercial Court were completed in just four working days between October 2021 and September 2022.

Economic value of English law

English law facilitates a huge amount of economic activity as the governing law of choice for international transactions across various sectors, including financial services and commodities trade.

Rising exports

The value of the UK’s legal services exports continues to rise on an annual basis, resulting in a growing trade surplus (value of exports compared to imports).

In 2021, the UK’s trade surplus for legal services reached £5.3 billion, compared to £4.6 billion in 2020.

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