Celebrating 125 years of the Commercial Court of England and Wales

This year is both the 125th anniversary of the founding of the Commercial Court in London and the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Commercial and Admiralty Court, via the Administration of Justice Act 1970.

A number of events were held to commemorate the milestone and we are delighted to share with you a number of highlights –

An exhibition was opened on the third floor of the Rolls Building, dedicated to the history and heritage of the Commercial Court. Supported by the Rolls Building Art and Education Trust (RBAET), the exhibition features:

  • The official portrait photograph of the first judge of the Commercial Court, J. C. Mathew (later Mathew LJ)
  • Portraits and short biographies of a number of the Commercial Court’s most distinguished judges, including Lord Wright MR and Lord Bingham MR
  • A display explaining the backdrop to the creation of the Court, and its forerunner – a court held in the heart of the City to dispense justice in a business-like fashion
  • A display featuring artefacts from one of the most famous judges of the Commercial Court, Scrutton LJ – author of the key commercial legal text ‘Scrutton on Charterparties’ and also the judge who tried the famous ‘Brides in the Bath’ murder case.
  • A display outlining the different phases of the history of the Court, referring to key cases and incidents in particular periods.

Mrs Justice Cockerill, Judge in Charge of the Commercial Court said – “We are so delighted to be celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the Commercial Court this year, and to have had the opportunity to mark the Court’s history with an exhibition here in the Rolls Building honouring the great judges of the Court’s past and its work past, present and future. The Court’s founding aim was to provide speedy, specialist resolution to complex claims for businesses, and it has been ironic that this anniversary year has, via covid, offered the Court a great opportunity to show just how well it continues to deliver on that promise.”


The Commercial Court past present and future COMBAR lecture was delivered by Lord Hamblen, Justice of the Supreme Court of ther United Kingdom on the 13th October 2020.


Finally, in an event held collaboratively between the Bar Council, Law Society and Judiciary of England and Wales on Comparative Perspectives of International Commercial Courts, a lively discussion and insight into the comparative perspectives of international commercial courts including use of technology and the challenges of remote hearings, and approaches to reducing costs and delays. Speakers included Lord Leggatt, Prof Richard Susskind, Mrs Justice Cockerill and Mr Justice Robin Knowles.

The full session can be found here: