There are 10 Commercial Court judges, six of whom sit at any one time. Those judges who are not sitting in the Court are either out on circuit, in the Court of Appeal Civil Division or in the Queen's Bench Division.
The quality of the judges is often commented on by City solicitors. Mr Justice Rix, former chair of COMBAR, is described as “terrific”.
“He puts in a copybook performance and gets a grip of the issues. He is also decisive – while some judges allow advocates to drone on, he gets it by the scruff of the neck.”
Mr Justice Cresswell has a different style and comes in for criticism. He “likes issues to be narrowed by agreement. This takes quite a lot of time.”
Another solicitor said that while “some people have difficulties with him, he is an absolutely charming man. He's too nice which makes it difficult to make decisions. He takes everything to heart. He's had an awful press which is unfair and so disrespectful.”
Mr Justice Phillips is described as “a great star” while Mr Justice Potter “has a very sensible attitude”.
As judge in charge of the list, “Potter has maintained it extremely well and is also well-respected and liked although not as radical as Mr Justice Saville,” says another solicitor.