Lord Goldsmith QC, former attorney general of England and Wales, warned in an interview recently that the coming “avalanche of litigation arising from the credit crisis” may overwhelm the London court system. Lord Goldsmith, now European chair of litigation at Debevoise & Plimpton, fears that London’s reputation as a top center for the resolution of business disputes may be tarnished and “be seen to be wanting” unless the courts quickly gear up for a storm of lawsuits, according to an article in the Financial Times.
Lord Goldsmith’s comments refer to “warnings about pressure on the court budget already,” and his fear that the court system will struggle to handle claims involving multiple parties, such as liquidators, shareholder action groups and “vulture” funds that buy up cheap assets, FT reports. “What we will see is a lot of litigation where people want decisions quickly. And just getting a courtroom where you can get 15 parties and their lawyers in at the same time is quite a challenge for us,” he said.
Lord Goldsmith’s comments follow recent comments (discussed here) by the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, predicting that the collapse of Lehman Brothers will soon lead to “litigation on a scale that we have not seen before.”