Tom Snelling comments in CDR News

By Tom Snelling

Partner Tom Snelling was interviewed by CDR News as part of an article examining delays within the civil courts system in England and Wales, providing his insights and experience at the Commercial Court in the London.

Tom Snelling’s comments were published in CDR News, 18 April 2024, here.

Tom Snelling commented:

“The lead times for hearings are inevitably something that varies depending on numerous factors. Many such factors are difficult to avoid even with the sophisticated resource and contingency planning that the former and current Judges in Charge of the Commercial Court in London have put in place.”

“Some of these factors can even be geopolitical – for example, the extent to which court time is taken up by the litigation consequences of events like the Covid pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and resulting sanctions issues, or Brexit. Some may be a consequence of a combination of ‘mega cases’ needing resolution at the same time. We saw that last year when the Commercial Court here had to, and successfully did, manage a correlation of big cases simultaneously. This isn’t simple Jenga when those cases (rightly) have allocated High Court judges and will require regular court time from that dedicated judicial resource. Taking the example of the Mozambique litigation that I was involved in last year: it is not just the impact on listing (and therefore general availability of the courts and judges for other / new court users) of a judge being focused on a nearly 12 week trial, it’s the numerous CMCs, urgent applications and pre-trial review (PTR) issues that are in play up to trial.”

“This is always going to be difficult for commercial courts to accommodate without impacting on lead times for other hearings – especially when they are faced with, as we also saw last year, an increase in urgent injunction applications and an uptick in new proceedings being issued.”

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