The South West & Wales: Bristol Mercantile Court

Established: January 1994

Presiding judge: His Honour Judge Raymond Jack QC

A great success story of the West Country, Bristol’s Mercantile Court enjoys a very good reputation. Solicitors are particularly fond of Judge Jack because he treats them well and he doesn’t favour members of the bar. He is also an interventionist judge who “doesn’t let cases sit”. According to Kane Kirkbride, a partner in Bevan Ashford’s commercial litigation department, Judge Jack has passed some interesting and seriously heavyweight judgments, which, at appeal, are usually upheld. “We like him because, unlike in London where you get palmed off with a deputy, he’s involved from start to finish,” says Kirkbride. “He’s a down to earth man who is well thought of, and he seems to get it right most of the time. He’s done a lot to give Bristol street cred and gravitas.”

Professional support lawyer at Burges Salmon Sarah Smith agrees. “There’s no doubt we’d be happy to issue in Bristol,” she says. “The judge and the procedure are both good.” The clerking at court is another factor in its attractiveness. “The clerks are superb,” says Kirkbride. “They’re very flexible and can often get you listed at short notice for an injunction or something. The only foreseeable problem is that Judge Jack’s list is getting so full that the clerks may not be able to be so accommodating for too much longer.”