London Commercial Courts see record surge in international litigants

A record number of international parties appeared before the London Commercial Courts (LCC) between April 2023 and March 2024, according to Portland’s latest Commercial Courts report.

International parties comprised 64% of all litigants before the courts in 2023/24, representing 84 nationalities.

This marks a 4% rise on the previous year, during which 59.8% of cases involved international parties.

Over the same period, the LCC recorded a 9% rise in the total number of litigants (1,220) and a 2% rise in the total number of judgments delivered (262), reflecting an increase in the courts’ activity.

Change in geographical makeup

Despite the increasing use of the courts by international parties, there was a dramatic shift in the geographical makeup of litigants in 2023/24 compared to previous years.

The number of Russian litigants fell from 58 to 27, whereas there was a surge in litigants from:

  • Ireland (139)
  • Switzerland (45)
  • the United Arab Emirates (43)
  • Cyprus (33)
  • the British Virgin Islands (29)

The number of US litigants (75) also rose by 56%.

However, the surge in cases involving litigants from Ireland – driven by a series of aircraft insurance cases – pushed the US from second to third place in Portland’s list of litigants by nationality.

Notably, the number of Singaporean litigants fell from 35 in 2022/23 to 17 in 2023/24.

The number of cases involving Indian litigants also dropped by 14%, although Indian parties continue to feature prominently in LCC disputes.

Rise in nation-state disputes

A record high of 31 nation-state litigants appeared in LCC disputes in 2023/24.

These litigants represented four different continents and included the governments of Cuba, Argentina, Nigeria and Spain.

Most of these cases stemmed from arbitration proceedings, reflecting the LCC’s role in supervising London-seated international arbitrations, with responsibility for handling both challenges to, and the enforcement of, arbitral awards.

US v UK disputes

In keeping with previous years, US litigants ranked as the most common counterparty in disputes involving UK litigants in 2023/24, with the LCC delivering nine judgments in UK v US cases.

This reflects the close trading relationship between firms operating in the UK and the US, which can lead to litigation.

We promote and protect the reputation and interests of solicitors to sustain the position of England and Wales as a leading international legal centre, and also advocate for solicitors working internationally.

Find out more about our international work.

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