Business and Property Courts: Media Release

|Media Release

From June * of this year, the specialist civil courts are to be known as the “Business and Property Courts of England and Wales”.

The Business and Property Courts will be the new name for England and Wales’ international dispute resolution jurisdictions and will act as a single umbrella for business specialist courts across England and Wales.

It will encompass the specialist courts and lists of the High Court:

  • the Commercial Court, (including the Admiralty Court and Mercantile Court),
  • the Technology and Construction Court (“TCC”), and
  • the courts of the Chancery Division (including those dealing with financial services, intellectual property, competition, and insolvency).

The new arrangements will preserve the familiar practices and procedures of these courts, whilst allowing for more flexible cross-deployment of judges with suitable expertise and experience to sit on appropriate business and property cases.

This new structure together with the Financial List and the Shorter and Flexible Trial Scheme, will enhance the UK’s already respected reputation for international dispute resolution; and will play a part in ensuring that Britain continues to provide the best business court-based dispute resolution service in the world, served by a top-class independent judiciary.

There will also be Business and Property Courts in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and in Cardiff, with expansions to Newcastle and Liverpool likely in the future.  The new arrangements will enhance the connection between the specialist Business and Property work undertaken in the regions and in London.  In London, these specialist jurisdictions already operate together at the Rolls Building.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd , the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, said:

“The judiciary is committed to maintaining Britain’s reputation as the best place in the world for court-based dispute resolution. These changes will ensure that our courts and judiciary continue to lead the world in this field.”

The Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss said:

“I strongly support the changes the Lord Chief Justice, Chancellor of the High Court and President of the Queen’s Bench Division are taking forward. It is absolutely vital our legal services continue to lead the world and remain the first choice for business. These Business and Property Courts will be based in our great cities across England and Wales supporting businesses across the country.”

Sir Brian Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, said:

“Cross deployment of judges across the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions for the purposes of the Financial List has demonstrated the real value of flexible deployment in appropriate cases.  This development will be of benefit both to the courts and the users of the courts.”

Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court of England and Wales, said:

“These new arrangements show that modernising the courts through innovation and flexibility can bring benefits to international and domestic businesses. This is yet another example of judicial innovation making the courts more effective for those using them.”

Notes for Editors

  1. All the judges, masters, and registrars in bankruptcy of the Rolls Building will be involved in the Business and Property Courts, as will many judges in the specialist district registries of the High Court outside of London.
  2. The current position is that judges who are experts in a particular area are not readily deployed to sit in cases in that area in another court.  For example, highly expert competition law judges in the Queen’s Bench Division cannot easily sit on the bulk of competition law cases that take place in the Chancery Division.
  3. The courts or lists currently included within the Business and Property Courts are be as follows:
  • The Commercial Court (covering all its existing subject areas of shipping, sale of goods, insurance and reinsurance etc.)
  • The Admiralty Court.
  • The Mercantile Court.
  • The Technology and Construction Court (covering all its traditional areas of major technology and construction cases).
  • The Financial List (covering banking and financial markets).
  • The Companies and Insolvency Court.
  • The Patents Court.
  • The Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court (the “IPEC”).
  • The Competition List.
  • Other courts and lists will be added in future to include the existing business and property cases in the Chancery Division etc
  1. For further information please contact Michael Duncan at the Judicial Press Office, 0207 947 7836 michael.duncan@judiciary.gsi.gov.uk.

* Please note that due to the general election the launch of the Business and Property Courts has been postponed until July.

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