Law, Society, and Economy: Centenary Essays for the London School of Economics and Political Science, 1895-1995

By Richard Rawlings | Go to book overview

jurisdiction--and touched on in Gower's article--are the Commercial Court and arbitration. In the decades immediately following World War II the Commercial Court was in the doldrums.104 There were few cases: Gower noted as one problem a lack of business confidence in the expertise of the judges sitting in the court. Neither is true now. The case load is considerable, and there is a cadre of specialist judges, sitting almost full time in the court. The quality of decision-making is high, and the Court attracts a considerable volume of foreign business. Procedure is flexible, and cases are individually managed. In this respect the Commercial Court presaged the Woolf recommendations for the reform of civil procedure.105

Arbitration still flourishes in London, although, given its private character, it is difficult to define its metes and bounds precisely. As with the Commercial Court, a good deal of arbitration in London is international in nature. London is still a major centre for commodity and maritime arbitrations. Commodity arbitrations are held under the auspices of bodies such as GAFTA (the Grain and Feed Trade Association);106 maritime arbitrations are conducted by members of the London Maritime Arbitrators Association.107 The London Court of International Arbitration, originally established as the London Chamber of Arbitration in 1892, is another forum for arbitration in London for some fifty to sixty international arbitrations a year.108 In terms of international disputes, however, it is eclipsed by the Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which is based in Paris, but which also arranges arbitrations in London (and elsewhere).


CONCLUSION

Commercial law was far from being the sole legal interest of any of our four commercial lawyers. As a judge, Wright covered the whole range of the law litigated. He is especially revered by modern restitution scholars. Gutteridge and Gower made important contributions to legal education. Gutteridge through his membership of the Atkin Committee,109 Gower

____________________
104
E.g. Commercial Court Users' Conference Report ( 1963) Cmnd. 1616.
105
Access to Justice. Final Report by the Right Honourable the Lord Woolf ( London, 1996).
106
D. Kirby Johnson, International Commodity Arbitration ( London, 1991).
107
See C. Ambrose and K. Maxwell, London Maritime Arbitration ( London, 1996).
108
V. Veeder, "'Two Arbitral Butterflies: Bramwell and David'", in M. A. Marriott Hunter & V. Veeder (eds.), The Internationalisation of International Arbitration ( London, 1995), 15.
109
Report of the Legal Education Committee ( 1984) Cmnd. 4663. In fact the committee proved a damp squib: B. Abel-Smith and R. Stevens, Lawyers and the Courts ( Cambridge, Mass., 1967), 184-5.

-128-

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