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Report No. 188

(B) Delaware

Of the States which have some sort of a 'specialised Court' to hear complex business litigation, Delaware is the best-known, most highly respected and long-standing. Delaware's Court of Chancery has existed for over 200 years and has traditional equity justice. Its business specialization is not the result of a formal decision to specialize, but rather the incorporation of a large number of 'companies' in Delaware due to its favourable corporate statutes, and the applicability of principles of equity to many of the disputes in which these companies are involved.

The Court of Chancery in Delaware has five members who each handle approximately 200 to 225 cases per year. Each member of the Court is responsible for overseeing each case assigned to him until resolution. Members typically draft approximately 60 opinions each year, half of which are published. Business litigation makes up approximately 95% of the County's docket and the effectiveness of the Court, as well as of its national reputation which is brought about by a thorough understanding of corporate issues by the Court. Upon request, cases may be expedited with discovery and trial completed in as little as 3 months. Parties may also seek appeals to the Delaware Supreme Court.

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