Labour will charge foreign oligarchs for using British courts

 

Whitehall Editor

Oligarchs and foreign firms who use the UK courts to settle their multimillion legal disputes would be forced to pay a “British justice premium”, under a Labour government.

Foreign plaintiffs currently pay just a fraction of the real costs of running England’s commercial court system – on average just £1,930 a case.

But the percentage of cases coming before the courts, where at least one party is foreign domiciled, is now over 80 per cent.

Those cases make millions of pounds each year for City law firms – but the cost of court hearings is effectively being subsidised by the taxpayer.

Under Labour plans, to be set out by the shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan, foreign litigants would in future have to pay a “fair price” to use the court service – which would subsidise other parts of the justice system.

Among the most high-profile foreign cases to be heard by the English courts system was that in which the late Boris Berezovsky sued the Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich for £3bn, which at the time was the biggest private court case in British legal history.

While the case cost the parties around £100m in legal fees, the total fees paid to the Government for the hearing are estimated to be less than £100,000. In total, court fees generated just £2.2m in income last year.

Other recent foreign cases include that of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire Saudi investor who was defending a claim brought by a Jordanian businesswoman.

Daad Sharab won her claim that the prince had failed to pay her $10m (£5.9m) commission for her role in brokering the $120m sale of a private jet.

Data recently compiled by the legal PR firm Portland Legal Disputes found the numbers of litigants using UK courts from the Middle East and Africa more than doubled in the 12 months to March.

A Labour source said they did not believe raising court fees for foreign litigants would put people off settling their dispute in London. “It is ironic that foreigners have greater access to British justice than British people,” they said. “I don’t think anyone believes hard-pressed British taxpayers should pay for foreign billionaires who come to London to fight their legal battles. ”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?