Journal of Business & Technology Law

Business Court News and Developments

  • Oct. 1st, 2012 - Attorneys for Delaware’s Chancery Court judges filed a notice of Appeal in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals of a federal judge's recent decision (see Aug. 31, below) declaring secret Chancery Court arbitration proceedings overseen by judges unconstitutional. The notice of appeal did not state the reasons for the appeal, however, prior to filing the notice of appeal, attorneys for the the Delaware Court of Chancery stated: "In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, the United States cannot afford to be at a competitive disadvantage in providing efficient ways for businesses to resolve their disputes. Otherwise, businesses will tend to move toward other nations that provide that advantage."
  • Sep. 19th, 2012 - The Russian Supreme Commercial Court announced that it is planning to publish online copies of claims being filed with the court sometime in early 2013. According the court's chairman Anton Ivanov the court will have "the necessary technology to publish transcripts of lawsuits in progress," in two to three months, but technical aspects of the system will require testing. The documents will be scanned by the outsourced companies and the judge will authorize the publication of the documents online. In addition to the publishing of documents online, the chairman is also interested in posting audio records from hearings.
  • Sep. 19th, 2012 - Judiciary Opens Court in the East. Sierra Leone has just opened a Fast Track Commercial Court. The project is a joint partnership between the Investment Climate Facility for Africa Trust (ICF) and the Government of Sierra Leone. The court is mandated to hear and determine claims or disputes in trade and commerce, and aims to reduce the time of a full trial from 180 days to a maximum of 100 days and the number of procedures from 10 to six. The President of Sierra Leone praised the opening of this and other new courts as one of several developments to benefit the people who live in the eastern part of the capital city.
  • Sep. 16th, 2012 - West Virginia Business Court to be Headquartered in Martinsburg - The new business court will start Oct. 10 in West Virginia and will generally handle disputes involving commercial or technology issues, including complex tax appeals. The state's Supreme Court of Appeals recently announced that the court will be headquartered in Martinsburg. According to the new court's rules, claims heard by the business court would involve matters "of significance to the transactions, operations or governance between business entities." The West Virginia Supreme Court will provide specialized training to judges to elevate their expertise in commercial litigation as part of the launch of the business court. Cases would be sent to the business court upon motions made by the presiding circuit judges or by a motion made by a party in the case. It would then go to the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who would consider whether the case would be assigned to the business court. Both business leaders and the legal community in Martinsburg are enthusiastic about the new court.
  • Sep. 11th, 2012 - Justice Robin Jean Davis of the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia announced today that October 10th would mark the start of a new business court docket within the existing circuit court system. Based on legislation proposed in 2008 by House Speaker Rick Thompson and inspired by the venerable Delaware Court of Chancery, the new system will specialize in novel commercial law cases and complex litigation between businesses.
  • Sep. 7th, 2012 - India's Supreme Court ruled that Indian courts have no jurisdiction to pass interim orders in disputes when an arbitration proceeding is being conducted in another country. This decision may induce companies to choose arbitration as their preferred means of dispute resolution in international commercial transactions with Indian parties. This decision altered the Indian Supreme Court's previous interpretation of India's 1996 Arbitration Act.
  • Aug. 31st, 2012 - A U.S. District judge found Delaware Chancery Court's private arbitration process unconstitutional in a lawsuit filed in October 2011 by the Delaware Coalition for Open Government. Arbitration proceedings in the Delaware Court of Chancery are now constitutionally required to be open to the public. The arbitration proceedings occurred behind closed doors and kept secret. The Court held that the First Amendment prevents defendants from closing arbitration proceedings to the public and the press. The Chancery Court plans to appeal the decision to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Jul. 4th, 2012 - A Commercial Courts Bill is pending in New Delhi's Parliament. The Bill would fast track large value or important public interest matters relating to commercial issues; these issues would be taken directly by the high courts.
  • Jul. 3rd, 2012 - Cuyahoga County (part of Greater Cleveland), Ohio, has extended its experimental commercial docket. The docket was supposed to expire after one year, on July 1, instead it may become permanent. Other counties in Ohio- with the exception of Franklin County- have also extended their commercial docket. The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to decide in June of 2013 whether to permanently allow business courts in Ohio. The program has been favorably received by lawyers and companies in business-to-business lawsuits. Franklin County voted 9-8 to end their program but left open the option to revive it in the future.
  • Jun. 14th, 2012 - The Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 5128, which will create business courts within Michigan’s existing circuit courts. The bill, which received bipartisan support, passed on a 103-7 vote. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) voiced support for House Bill 5128. NFIB State Director Charlie Owens cites that business courts have increased from three pilot dockets in 1993 to more than forty court programs within twenty-two states as of 2010. Owens said that the legislation will aid in making Michigan more business friendly.

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