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New ‘Commercial Hub’ can put Northern Ireland at the forefront of commercial litigation, says top judge

  • Ireland
  • Northern Ireland
  • General


A leading judge has said that reform of the commercial litigation system in Northern Ireland could make it one of the most attractive places in the UK and Ireland to do business.

Justice Horner, Commercial Court Judge in Northern Ireland’s High Court, made the comments about the new Commercial Hub at a Northern Ireland In-House Lawyers Group event in conjunction with law firm Eversheds Sutherland at the MAC in Belfast today (13 June).

The Hub, which has been in operation since 29 April this year, operates as a business court dealing with all forms of commercial disputes, whether public or private law, and is made up of four judges working across the areas of commercial and chancery law, judicial review and ancillary relief.

The new Hub, developed as part of the outworking of some of the key recommendations contained in the 2017 Review of Civil and Family Justice in Northern Ireland, replaces a system that was often seen as cumbersome and detrimental to business.

Speaking at the In-House Lawyers Group event in conjunction with Eversheds Sutherland at the MAC in Belfast, Mr Justice Horner said:

“The introduction of the new Commercial Hub is an opportunity for Northern Ireland to become one of the most attractive places in the British Isles to do business. The previous system of commercial litigation was cumbersome, expensive and time-consuming. The new Hub has the potential to put Northern Ireland at the forefront of commercial litigation.”

“Lengthy and costly dispute resolution has a negative impact not only on the businesses directly involved, but also on the wider economy, making a jurisdiction a less attractive place to invest in.”

“The new Hub is designed to be more efficient, more effective and more economical. It will help to streamline commercial actions, and drive down costs in commercial proceedings, helping to make Northern Ireland a more attractive place to do business.”

Matthew Howse, Partner, Dispute Resolution and Litigation at Eversheds Sutherland said:

“It is in the nature of business that disputes will arise, and at Eversheds Sutherland we work on the principle that dispute resolution should be always be pragmatic and relationship-orientated.”

“There are always going to be times when litigation is necessary, and when it must happen, it is right that it should be as efficient as possible.”

“The modernisation brought about by the new Hub will make litigation less complicated, less time-consuming and will help reduce costs.”




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