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A future of specialized tribunals for transnational legal disputes?

World-wide, the notional amount of outstanding derivatives contracts stands at $450 trillion. Awesome, and as the world knows some awfully complicated lawsuits can ensue when counterparties wrangle. To sort out those tussles, many of which pull in disputants from different countries, a new permanent body might resolve issues outside of traditional courts. That is what the Economist, Dec. 11, 2010, at 89, explains. “The sheer fiddliness of some financial cases threatens to overwhelm the skills and patience of standard commercial courts.” To address that, a group of bankers and lawyers have started to set up a forum in the Netherlands to sort things out more expeditiously.

Isn’t it possible to foresee such a court for complex, multi-national patent disputes and for massive Internet or privacy disputes? Given differences in laws and huge amounts at stake, specialized places where experts can referee and decide make sense. If that movement gets underway, it could alter in-house practice in certain areas of the law quite dramatically.