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November 26, 1999

Bijur says Commercial Division of state court is 'the envy of other states'

New York's Commercial Division of state Supreme Court has moved New York "from a court system that often evoked frustration among businesses, to a business court that is the envy of other states," according to Business Council Chairman Peter Bijur.

Bijur, who is chairman and CEO of Texaco Inc., represented The Business Council at a Nov. 9 press conference in New York City marking the fourth anniversary of the Commercial Division.

The Commercial Division was created on an experimental basis in New York City and Monroe County on the recommendation of a 1995 task force appointed by New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye. Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh was a member of that task force.

The goal of the court, which this year was expanded to Westchester County, is to streamline commercial litigation and to make legal outcomes more predictable and reliable for business.

"For a number of years, The Business Council had been concerned that the New York State Judiciary system was both too complex and confusing for all parties. Our members felt they spent more time and money than appropriate on court cases," Bijur said.

For this reason, he noted, The Council supported creation of the Commercial Division and the adoption of procedures "to expeditiously handle business cases and in a court with a higher degree of expertise in the peculiarities of business law.

"What we did not anticipate was the speed with which the Commercial Division would be up and running and, more importantly, we have been impressed with the quality of the results," Bijur said. "The time frame is reasonable. The decisions are reasoned."

The new court "shows what can be done when business works with practitioners and judges to accomplish something that benefits everyone," he added.