The introduction of the Financial List was announced by the Lord Chief Justice in his Mansion House speech on 8 July 2015.
The Lord Chief Justice explained that this will be a specialist list for financial claims of £50 million or more, or cases that raise issues concerning the domestic and international financial markets: the equity, derivatives, FX and commodities markets. It will include provision for an innovative test case procedure, the aim of which will be to facilitate the resolution of market issues on which there is no previous authoritative English precedent.
He then outlined the reasons for the introduction of such a list.
“First, it will promote access to the courts and the expertise of trial judges, for market actors in an area that is of significant importance to the development of both the domestic economy, and to open markets internationally.
Secondly, and particularly through the test case procedure, the Financial List will help to avoid costly and time consuming litigation, through providing a mechanism for authoritative guidance before disputes have arisen. It thus helps to provide the necessary environment, identified by Adam Smith, for economic activity to thrive.
Thirdly – and flowing from the first and second points – I hope that this initiative will promote the rule of law both nationally and internationally. At the national level it does so for the reasons I have already outlined. At the international level it does so through acting as a beacon. The courts and the judiciary of this jurisdiction are widely respected throughout the world, for their expertise, knowledge of the markets, their incorruptibility and their independence.
The new Financial List – embodying these virtues – will set an international benchmark. The new list will not only encourage international litigants to continue to use our courts, the principles they embody and their jurisprudence, but in doing so they will help to raise standards. Setting the bar high here will help to raise the bar high across the world.”