Litigation 2017

The Litigation guide provides expert legal commentary on the key issues for businesses involved in litigation. The guide covers the important developments in the most significant jurisdictions.

Last Updated March 21, 2017


Dan K. Webb , the co-chairman of Winston & Strawn, is one of the most renowned trial lawyers in the United States. After serving as the United States Attorney in Chicago and by special appointment as the prosecutor of Admiral John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra scandal, he built a wide-ranging trial practice covering commercial, civil, regulatory, and white-collar criminal cases. He has tried more than 100 jury cases, and he has served as lead trial counsel in some of the nation’s highest profile cases, including the government’s price fixing case against General Electric, the tobacco litigation against Philip Morris, and the government antitrust litigation against Microsoft.

Michael Madden is a litigation partner based in the firm’s London office. He leads the firm’s commercial litigation practice there, and he has extensive experience with clients in American, continental European, and Asian business centres.

Winston & Strawn LLP Corporate America consistently trusts Winston with their most high-stakes litigation. Winston litigators have tried major jury and bench trials in virtually every significant federal and state venue and assisted with high-profile investigations related to SEC, AG, and other regulatory inquiries. They handle appeals before the US Supreme Court, US Courts of Appeals, and state appellate courts. Winston’s international arbitration attorneys have extensive experience with all the major arbitration and international claims institutions and rules, and the firm has locally qualified commercial litigators in Brussels, Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Taipei. Substantive areas of litigation work include: antitrust, securities, product liability, class actions, white collar, patent/trademark/copyright, ERISA, insurance coverage, energy, and media and entertainment. The Contributing Editor would like to thank Daniel Meagher, Bibi Sarraf-Yazdi, Anuj Moudgil and Suzanne Labi.


Overview

Litigation today increasingly crosses national borders. Products move from one country to another. Intellectual property rights are asserted around the world. Securities are traded from one financial centre to another. Similar cases may be fought in parallel in different countries, or a single dispute may be fought in multiple countries at the same time.

The structure and operation of different countries’ litigation procedures can affect, or in some cases even determine, the outcome of disputes. Those procedures must therefore be considered when a client is deciding where or when to fight. To assist their clients, litigators need to understand how litigation works in jurisdictions around the world.

This book is a concise and pragmatic guide to the key features of different legal systems. It features information from leading lawyers about their home countries. Their responses, to questions we posed, follow this Introduction and are organised by country.

Here you will find information about everything from statutes of limitations, to the requirements to commence proceedings, to how trials and appeals are conducted. You will find information about topics such as pretrial proceedings in the different countries, whether discovery and dispositive motions are available, and the privileges that each jurisdiction recognises. The Guide explains the rules in some jurisdictions that use awards of costs to encourage co-operation and settlement. In those jurisdictions such awards can greatly increase litigation costs and provide a serious disincentive to commencing proceedings where the sums at stake are not significant relative to the litigation costs.

The Guide also provides information about how different countries are responding to current trends in litigation, such as representative actions, punitive damages, litigation funding, injunctive relief, and alternative dispute resolution. Litigation funding in particular is gathering momentum even in jurisdictions where punitive or costs awards are rare.

Class action litigation is another area of growing interest, and the availability and scope of class action claims in different countries varies widely. Though closely associated with the United States, class action claims are available in some other countries, but not in others. Whether and when they are allowed presents important strategic issues for international businesses.

In cross-border tracing and enforcement claims and fraud disputes, litigators must be able to advise clients early in litigation about the prospects of finding and freezing assets in many jurisdictions around the world. Clients will also require early advice on the prospect of collecting a judgment and the process for doing it. The Guide will help.

The Guide should be especially useful for information about jurisdictions other than the usual hubs of international litigation such as New York and London. Countries around the world are investing in and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their legal systems, with the goal of becoming modern financial and business centres. Some, such as Singapore and Dubai, have established international arbitration centres, but domestic judicial systems are also the focus of attention. It will take time for business confidence in those judicial systems to develop, but it will happen, and as a result the trend towards global litigation will accelerate.

That trend will increase the importance of local judicial systems as places to enforce foreign judgments. At present, parties to international disputes tend to look to international arbitration as an alternative to litigation, due in part to the easier enforceability of international arbitration awards under the New York Convention. This may change, and readers of the Guide will profit from their enhanced familiarity with different countries’ practice and procedures.

The Guide also considers how courts in different jurisdictions see their role in encouraging alternative dispute resolution such as arbitration, or in respecting parties’ decisions to arbitrate their disputes. Some courts encourage ADR, some do not. Many courts around the world consistently respect arbitration awards, but, as will be apparent from some of the responses that follow, certain jurisdictions continue to invoke public policy or similar issues to interfere with arbitration awards. A litigator advising a client on ADR and arbitration awards must know which countries are which.

This Introduction is but a short overview and hint at the wealth of information inside. We hope you find this Guide to be practical and useful, and we welcome any suggestions you have to improve next year’s edition.

A message from the editors:

The Chambers Global Practice Guide on Litigation offers essential insights for lawyers and their clients on legal systems around the world. It is an indispensable resource for anyone involved in international or cross-border litigation. We have had the privilege of working with many of the contributors and members of their firms around the world. We thank them for their participation in the Guide, and we commend to you their expert advice.