“Delaware laws are watched over by a sophisticated bench and, through judicial precedents, are particularly well understood.” Jeffrey Golden
Established in 1792, Delaware’s Court of Chancery is oldest business court in the U.S., and is widely recognized as the nation’s preeminent forum for the resolution of corporate disputes. The Court of Chancery focuses on business disputes and does not hear criminal cases or routine civil cases that seek money damages. The Court’s limited jurisdiction has enabled it to focus on corporate law disputes and significant business cases, which allows it to resolve disputes efficiently and accurately, frequently within days or weeks. All cases before the Court of Chancery are heard by these experienced jurists, rather than by potentially inexpert or unpredictable juries.
The Superior Court is Delaware’s major court of law. It has general jurisdiction and handles all complex tort and commercial litigation actions. The Superior Court is also a national leader in litigation innovation. For example, the Complex Commercial Litigation Division (CCLD) operates as part of Delaware’s Superior Court, providing a fast-track alternative for complex commercial litigation where monetary damages are sought. Cases can be heard in a matter of months, when appropriate, and motions can be scheduled within a few days. CCLD jurists are well-versed in complex commercial litigation and have strong business law backgrounds or proven records of managing complex civil litigation and deciding complicated business disputes.
Appeals from the Court of Chancery and Superior Court go directly to the Supreme Court, Delaware’s highest court. This court makes case-specific decisions, which contributes to the incremental development of Delaware law. The Delaware Supreme Court typically issues a unanimous decision, providing businesses with stable and predictable guidance.
Delaware’s judges, who have unparalleled experience in handling sophisticated business matters, are appointed by the Governor through an exhaustive selection process and then confirmed by the State Senate. The judges have years of proven experience working at top Delaware firms.
Delaware lawyers are the nation’s leading experts on corporate and business law, serving as expert counsel to both domestic and international corporations. Delaware companies around the world can find local attorneys to help navigate Delaware’s laws and court system. Delaware’s corporate bar also has an active role in keeping Delaware’s business law current by continually reviewing the business statutes and recommending changes to the State legislature.
Delaware courts employ the “90-day rule” which requires cases to be decided within 90 days of submission. If a judge is not able to comply with this rule, s/he is required to provide an explanation for the delay. In 2014, the average time from submission to a decision by the Delaware Supreme Court was 27.3 days, according to the 2014 Annual Report Statistical Information for the Delaware Judiciary.
The Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act (DRAA) provides an exciting option for sophisticated parties to resolve business disputes quickly and efficiently. Under the DRAA, proceedings before an arbitrator are confidential and can be held anywhere in the world. The arbitrator must render a decision within 120 days of accepting the case, with the possibility of a one-time 60-day extension if both parties agree. Any appeal is limited to a single direct challenge of the final award to the Delaware Supreme Court, with such challenges governed by the narrow scope of review.
“The Court of Chancery has handed down thousands of opinions interpreting virtually every provision of Delaware’s corporate law statute. No other state court can make such a claim.”
Chief Justice William Rehnquist
Delaware’s Rapid Arbitration Act provides sophisticated parties with speedy and private resolution of their disputes.
Delaware’s Administrative Office of the Courts received the 2016 Reporting Excellence Award from the Court Statistics Project, a joint effort of the Conference of State Court Administrators (COSCA) and the National Center for State Courts (NCSC).
Delaware is consistently ranked first overall (every year from 2002 through the most recent survey) and first for Judicial Competence, demonstrating the State’s well-deserved reputation for its outstanding jurists (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Lawsuit Climate Ranking of States).
Several years ago, Delaware’s judiciary recognized the need for an additional venue to provide its corporate citizens with a more flexible and cost-effective solution for litigating disputes claiming monetary damages on a speedy timeline, if needed. The discussion ultimately led to the creation of the Complex Commercial Litigation Division (CCLD).
Related Topics: Chancery Court, Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Complex Commercial Litigation Division, Court of Chancery, Delaware court of Chancery, Delaware Courts receive award for reporting excellence, Delaware General Corporation Law, Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, DRAA, Specialized Court