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New Commercial Court Statistics Showed Continued Efficiency

PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution
DATE: 23.06.2011

Commercial Court statistics were recently released for the period commencing January 2004 to March 2010. They demonstrate the by now internationally recognised success of the court, with a huge increase in the number of high vale cases progressing through the court at a rapid pace. As a consequence, Ireland is now being increasingly regarded a forum of choice for international commercial disputes, and as an example is likely to be the first jurisdiction to reach judgement in the litigation against an Irish fund custodian arising out of the Bernie Madoff US fraud, among a number of other competing jurisdictions.

The number of cases being entered into the list has grown annually, from 43 in 2004, to 373 in 2009, with 55 entered in 2010 by March. While the numbers are therefore increasing, the Court is managing the increased volume even more efficiently to ensure it can maintain its reputation for short turn around times. Of the 1125 cases entered into the list during that time, 923 have been disposed of. Similarly, the average length of time from entry of an action into the Commercial List, until its conclusion is 21 weeks, and by March 2010, 17 cases had been disposed of in 2010 alone.

Whilst a quarter of the cases entered into the list conclude in less than 4 weeks, over 90% conclude within a year. 281 cases have gone to a full hearing, which, perhaps surprisingly given the court’s active support for Alternative Dispute Resolution, is the most common manner in which cases have been disposed of. It appears that the least common catalyst for bringing about a settlement is the pre-trial conference, with only 6 cases being disposed of in this manner. The statistics show the Commercial Court is well able to handle the litigation recession boom.

Noreen Howard

Noreen was appointed as one of the two solicitor members to the Commercial Court Users’ Committee in May 2007. This Committee is chaired by the head of the Commercial Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly and was established to provide feedback from practitioners on the operation of the Commercial Court. She has also recently won the ILO Client Choice Award 2010 for Ireland in the commercial litigation category, one of three Matheson partners to win such an award this year


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