Opening of the Legal Year online seminar: comparative perspectives of international commercial courts

Friday 2 October 2020, 12:00-16:00




The Bar Council of England and Wales and The Law Society of England and Wales, in co-operation with the Judicial office of England and Wales, held an online seminar on Friday 2 October to mark the opening of the legal year.

Celebrating 125 years of the Commercial Court, the event provided insight into the comparative perspectives of international commercial courts including use of technology and the challenges of remote hearings, and approaches to reducing costs and delays.

Watch the full session video and view the agenda below.

If you're interested in hearing more about the Bar's role in the international legal market, don't miss 'Leading the charge - our international position' at this year's Annual Bar and Young Bar Conference: a discussion session investigating the Bar's opportunities for international growth in and outside of Europe as the UK leaves the EU and seeks new trade agreements with other nations. 

The session takes place 17:30-18:30 on Thursday 19 November, featuring a panel including Chancellor of the High Court The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos and Alexandria Carr (Head of European Regulatory Change, HSBC), chaired by Steven Thompson QC.

View the full conference programme and sign up to join the international session


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Opening of the Legal Year seminar

Comparative perspectives of international commercial courts



12:00 - 12:15


Comments from Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar; Simon Davis, President of the Law Society and The Rt Hon Lord Leggatt.

12:15 - 13:15

Technology in commercial trials and other hearings: a cross-jurisdictional analysis on the successes and challenges of remote hearings

  • An analysis of how different jurisdictions have coped with the impacts of COVID-19 and online hearings, the measures they have deployed and the successes and challenges they have encountered.
  • Discussion on management of remote hearings including meeting needs of litigants in person, access to justice, equality of arms, hybrid hearings and guidelines and etiquette for conducting remote hearings.

Olivier Cousi, Bâtonnier, Barreau de Paris
Matthew Howard SC, President of the Australian Bar Association
The Hon. Mrs Justice Cockerill, Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court
Professor Richard Susskind

Steven Thompson QC, Barrister XXIV Old Buildings, Chair of the Bar Council's International Committee

13:15 - 13:30


13:30 - 14:30

Reducing costs and delays in the commercial courts: a cross-jurisdictional analysis

  • A discussion on how commercial courts across jurisdictions are managing to deliver justice cost effectively
  • What techniques can be deployed to ensure disputes come to trial quickly and with minimal costs?

Marion Smith QC, Barrister at 39 Essex Chambers, Vice Chair of the Bar Council's International Committee
Willem Visser, Court Register and Senior Law Clerk of the Netherlands Commercial Court
Brad Regehr, President of the Canadian Bar Association
The Hon. Mr Justice Knowles

Colin Passmore, Senior Partner, Simmons and Simmons

14:30 - 14:40

Closing remarks

Amanda Pinto QC, Chair of the Bar and Simon Davis, President of the Law Society

14:40 - 16:00