… and whether to choose High Court or London arbitration?
The English High Court is a good place to have contractual disputes resolved, but before you write this into your contract, take a moment to consider two things.
Two issues to consider
Firstly, if you obtain a High Court Judgment, how will you enforce it? Sometimes it may be better to say arbitration in London because enforcement may be easier due to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards 1958. If you elect arbitration then starting the process should be quick and easy, so you should not need to appoint a process agent in the UK.
Secondly, if you need to start Court proceedings in London, how long will it take to serve the Claim Form outside the UK and what will this cost? There are some counties where it can take 12 months or more to serve a Claim Form, and that could be valuable time lost. Even within Europe the process can be quite costly and time consuming. Sometimes this can be avoided when the defendant is prepared to assist, and they appoint a law firm in the UK to accept service of the Claim Form, but often a defendant will have no desire to help speed up this process.
An easy solution to this problem is to insist on each party to the contract appointing an agent in England for service of process. That way you can issue your Claim Form and serve it the same day on the English domiciled company. No delay and no need to apply for permission to serve out of the jurisdiciton. In other words, it is almost as easy as starting an arbitration.
You can then take advantage of that fact that, unlike London arbitration, once you have paid the inititial court fee the rest of the process is free, so far as court charges are concerned. Compared to the cost a 3 person London arbitration, that could result in a significant saving if the case fights, in particular if the hearing lasts several days or more. That said, remember that one of the good things about English law, whether you choose the High Court or arbitration, is that the winner recovers most of its costs, and that would normally include all the tribunal’s fees.
We offer two services in relation to the above.
Firstly, we can help you decide whether the High Court or London arbitration would be best for you. Our standard fee for this is £275 inclusive of VAT plus any overseas leal advice that may be needed.
Secondly, if you decide on the High Court, or the loan documents you need to sign demand this, then we can act as your process agent. Our standard fee for this is £475 and this will cover most transactions, but terms and conditions apply.