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Private International Law Research

Factors Influencing International Litigants' Decisions to Bring Commercial Disputes to the London Based Courts

BIICL has conducted a study for the UK Ministry of Justice on factors influencing litigants' decisions to bring commercial disputes to London based courts. The project involved a broad fieldwork process including an online survey and qualitative interviews with legal practitioners and litigants in the UK and abroad who assessed the advantages and disadvantages of litigation in the UK. The assessment included the reasons for choice of court agreements in favour of English courts and choice of law clauses in favour of English law; the competitiveness of English courts as compared to other jurisdictions and arbitration; and the impact that increased court fees might have on the UK as a forum for the litigation of commercial claims.

Within the context of this project an event was organised in March 2014 entitled "Litigating in the UK - Why or Why Not?".

The work assisted the Ministry of Justice in developing an evidence base on the drivers behind decisions to bring commercial litigation and where to seek redress.

The study informed the government response on enhanced court fees

Government Response to Part 2 of the Consultation on Reform of Court Fees and Further Proposal for Consultation, January 2015

and is published here:

Factors Influencing International Litigants' Decisions to Bring Commercial Claims to the London Based Courts

Focus on Collective Redress

In 2012 BIICL was awarded a two-year grant by the European Commission to conduct a study on collective redress mechanisms in different EU Member States.

As economic transactions have become increasingly global, the potential for damage claims brought by a variety of claimants in different countries increases. Effective procedural tools are needed enabling large groups of claimants to bring a claim together. The EU has recognised the need for collective redress mechanisms in the Member States and the Commission published a Recommendation on collective redress, setting out common goals and guidelines for the Member States, strongly encouraging them to legislate in this area. Many Member States have recently introduced new collective redress mechanisms into their national procedural frameworks, either in form of a general mechanism or in form of sectoral collective redress in the areas of competition law, consumer law, product liability or financials services. In the UK, the recent Consumer Rights Act has introduced new legislation which provides for new collective procedural mechanisms in the competition sphere including collective settlements on an opt-out basis.

The Project "Focus on Collective Redress" examines national collective redress mechanisms, assesses whether they are appropriate for the specific dynamics of mass claims, compares their various features, tests their suitability for cross-border cases involving claimants from abroad, collects and analyses case law, contributes to the development of legislation and provides a forum for discussion and exchange.

It consists in a comprehensive website, a series of events and various research papers and publications supporting legislators and practitioners and informing academics and others with an interest in the area of collective redress. The project addresses and informs all those who have an interest in collective redress (businesses, citizens, academics, practitioners, judiciary, policy-makers, legislators, litigation funders, etc).

Visit the Collective Redress website.

See also the recent publication Collective Redress in Europe - Why and How? (E Lein, D Fairgrieve, M Otero, V Smith eds.), BIICL 2015

For upcoming events, please visit the BIICL events page.

Partner Organisations:

Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien (AT); Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (ES), Istituto Universitario di Studi Europei (IT), Vilniaus Universiteas (LT); Universidade de Coimbra (PT); University of Örebro (SE); Stichting Katholieke Universiteit Brabant (NL).

Project Directors:

Dr. Eva Lein; Dr. Duncan Fairgrieve; Dr. Marta Otero Crespo

Study on the question of effectiveness of an assignment or subrogation of a claim against third parties and the priority of the assigned or subrogated claim over a right of another person

In 2011 BIICL undertook a comprehensive research study for the European Commission on proprietary aspects of assignment in the conflicts of laws.

At present, Regulation (EC) No 593/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 on the law applicable to contractual obligations ('Rome I Regulation') does not contain a conflict of laws provision on these aspects and the EU Member States have different approaches to these questions. The BIICL Study considered (among other questions) whether a harmonised conflict of laws rule is necessary, whether any such rule should distinguish between transactions of different kinds and on the application of which law it should best be based. The study covers legal, statistical and empirical aspects as well as recommendations and drafting proposals. Account was taken of the needs and views of operators of different kinds within different market sectors.

The study will serve as a basis for the European Commission's report on Art. 14 Rome I Regulation (Art. 27(2) Rome I Regulation). It has been published on the Commission website and is accessible here.

The Optional Instrument for European Contract Law

In late 2010 the Institute provided expertise to the European Parliament on the envisaged optional instrument for EU contract law and its relation with rules of private international law including rules on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement. BIICL drafted a Briefing Note and presented it at a the EP Legal Affairs Committee workshop "An Optional Instrument for EU Contract law" in Brussels.

EU Regulation on International Successions

In 2010 the Institute provided expertise to the European Parliament evaluating the Commission Proposal for a Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law, recognition and enforcement of decisions and authentic instruments in matters of succession and the creation of a European Certificate of Succession COM(2009)154 final. BIICL drafted a "Briefing Note on a possible decision by the UK not to take part in the adoption of an EU Regulation on international successions" and presented the Note at a JURI Committee Meeting in Brussels.

Collective Redress and the Brussels I Regulation

Also in 2010, the Institute completed a research project entitled "Collective Redress and the Brussels I Regulation". This project examined the extent to which the current version of the Brussels I Regulation (44/2001/EC) can be adapted to the phenomenon of cross-border mass claims. The study also focuses on the relatively recent Dutch legislation on the collective settlement of mass claims.

For further information on our research in Private International Law, please contact Dr Eva Lein.