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2023 has been an eventful year for commercial disputes in the UK. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeal have held that the courts can force parties to mediate disputes against their will; that litigation funders must comply with complex regulations governing damages-based agreements if they contract for a share of any winnings; and that banks do not owe a legal duty to protect customers from authorised push payment frauds.

Class actions, meanwhile, have continued to be a significant feature of the litigation landscape, with much debate around how representative actions can be used, as well as a continued uptick in group actions relating to securities and ESG issues. The courts have also had to grapple with the impact of Russian sanctions, novel attempts to challenge corporate climate change strategies and decision making, complex cases involving crypto assets and numerous challenges relating to artificial intelligence, perhaps most notably intellectual property concerns. Insurance claims addressing Covid-19 business interruption have also continued to keep judges busy.

On the legislative front, we have seen proposals to reform the Arbitration Act 1996, significant new economic crime reforms and changes to how retained EU law will be amended and interpreted in domestic law. Moreover, the UK Government has signed the Singapore Convention, which establishes a global framework for the enforcement of mediated settlements, and announced its intention to join the Hague Judgments Convention 2019, which will facilitate the enforcement of UK judgments internationally, including in the EU.

This is just a snapshot of the major themes in disputes over the last year in England and Wales and beyond. You can read insights from our London disputes team on these topics as well as other major developments below.

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