The leader of the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham is Mrs Justice Carr DBE, who is a Judge of the Commercial Court and a Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit. Mrs Justice Carr works closely with Mr Justice Birss, the Supervising Judge for the Midlands, Western region, and Wales, when it comes to making deployment and listing decisions.
The Resident Judges of the Business and Property Courts are Senior Circuit Judges who sit principally in Birmingham but also at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. They are each authorised to sit as Judges of the High Court in all the jurisdictions of the Business and Property Courts’ work. In addition, substantial High Court cases may be listed before a High Court Judge, who may be Mrs Justice Carr or Mr Justice Birss.
Business and Property Courts work in the County Court may be listed before one of the Resident Judges or, if so authorised by a Resident Judge in an appropriate case, before a Recorder with relevant specialist expertise or a Specialist District Judge.
HHJ Simon Barker QC
HHJ Simon Barker QC was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1979 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2008. He was a Recorder from 1995 to 2010 authorised to sit in Criminal, Civil, Family, and Chancery cases. In 2010 he was appointed a Senior Circuit Judge authorised to sit in the Chancery Division. He is also authorised to sit in the Queen’s Bench Division (including the Mercantile, the Technology and Construction, and the Administrative Courts), the Family Court (Private and Public Law cases), and the Court of Protection. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ACA 1976 and FCA 1982).
HHJ David Cooke
HHJ David Cooke qualified as a solicitor at Pinsent & Co (now Pinsent Masons) in Birmingham in 1981 and was made a partner in 1982. He worked in corporate finance, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions and corporate insolvency and was for a number of years head of the firm’s banking department. He was appointed as a District Judge in Birmingham in 2001 and a Senior Circuit Judge specialising in Chancery matters in 2008. HHJ Cooke is authorised to sit as a Judge of the High Court in the Chancery Division, and also in the Queen’s Bench Division (with specific authorisation to sit in the Mercantile Court, the TCC, the Administrative Court and the Planning Court) and, for property related matters, in the Family Division. He is also assigned as a Judge of the Upper Tribunal in the Immigration and Asylum and the Tax and Chancery Chambers. HHJ Cooke was a member of the Judicial Pensions Committee from 2004 to 2015, and has since 2015 been a member of the Judicial Pensions Board.
Jane Evans-Gordon was called to the Bar in 1992 (Inner Temple). Following pupillage she took up tenancy in, what is now, New Square Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn. Her practice covered most areas of Chancery work although she eventually specialised in wills and probate, family provision, trusts and estates and associated property, company and jurisdictional issues.
Jane was appointed as a Civil Recorder on the Midland Circuit in 2009 and given a family ticket in 2010. She was appointed as a Circuit Judge authorised to sit in the High Court in October 2014. She was nominated as a Judge of the Court of Protection in October 2015 and appointed as a tutor of the Judicial College (Specialist Course) in December 2015. Most recently, Jane was authorised to sit as a Judge of the Administrative Court (January 2017).
HHJ Patrick McCahill QC
HHJ Patrick McCahill QC was called to the Bar in 1975 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996. He practised in Birmingham from Priory Chambers (formerly known as 2 Fountain Court) and then from St Philips Chambers, where he was a Deputy Head of Chambers. He was a Recorder from 1997 to 2001, when he was appointed a Circuit Judge on the Midland Circuit, hearing Criminal, Civil, Mercantile and Chancery cases. In 2007 he was appointed a Senior Circuit Judge authorised to sit in the Chancery Division and was based in Bristol, until his return to Birmingham in February 2017. He is also authorised to sit in the Queen’s Bench Division (including the Mercantile, the Technology and Construction, and the Administrative Courts) and as a Judge of the Upper Tribunal in the Immigration and Asylum and Property Chambers. He has been a Member of the Parole Board and a Course Director for the Judicial College Civil training courses for the Specialist Jurisdictions. In 2014, he was elected a Bencher of Gray’s Inn.
HHJ Martin McKenna
HHJ Martin McKenna served articles with Evershed & Tomkinson where he qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and was appointed an associate in 1984 and a partner at Eversheds, now Eversheds Sutherland, in 1987. He was head of litigation in the Birmingham office until shortly before appointment as a Circuit Judge in 2000. He became a Senior Circuit Judge and Designated Civil Judge for Birmingham in 2008. HHJ McKenna is authorised under s9 Senior Courts Act 1981 to sit as a Judge of the High Court in the Queen’s Bench Division (with specific authorisation to deal with cases in the Mercantile Court, the TCC and the Administrative Court) and in the Chancery Division. He is also authorised to sit as a judge of the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). HHJ McKenna has been a member of the Civil Procedure Rules Committee since 2013 and is a judicial member of the Civil Business Authority (which is the decision making forum for HMCTS as part of the Civil Justice system). He is also an Advisory Editor of the White book.
HHJ Charles Purle QC
HHJ Purle QC was called to the Bar in 1970 and practised from Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn from 1974 until his appointment as a Senior Circuit Judge in 2007, having taken silk in 1989. He was Head of New Square Chambers from 2003-2007 and Chairman of the Chancery Bar Association from 2004-2007. He was appointed as a Specialist Chancery Judge in June 2007 with authority to sit in the Chancery Division of the High Court, and is also authorised to sit in the Queen’s Bench Division, the Mercantile Court, the Technology and Construction Court and the Administrative Court. He also sits occasionally in the Court of Protection and the Upper Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum and Tax and Chancery Chambers).
HHJ Mary Stacey
Professional: Trained as a solicitor at Clifford Chance and qualified in 1987, and became a partner at Simons, Muirhead & Burton in 1990. Moved to Thompsons solicitors in 1992 and became partner and Head of Equal Rights Department. Judicial: Appointed as a fee-paid Employment Judge 1997 and salaried Employment Judge 2003. Appointed as deputy Chair of the Central Arbitration Committee 2000, Recorder 2007, Circuit Judge (Midlands Circuit) 2014, Assistant Certification Officer 2016, visiting Circuit Judge of the Employment Appeal Tribunal 2017. Publications: Editorial Advisory Board of Sweet & Maxwell Encyclopaedia of Employment Law; co-author Discrimination Law Handbook 2002 and 2007 editions.
HHJ Sarah Watson
HHJ Sarah Watson qualified as a solicitor in 1987 at Freshfields (now Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer). In 1989 she joined the Birmingham office of Edge Ellison (now Squire Patton Boggs) and became a partner there in 1994. Her practice was in commercial litigation. She acted in disputes involving construction and engineering, commercial contracts, corporate finance, and professional negligence. She was an accredited mediator, specialising in engineering disputes. She was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2001, a District Judge in 2007, and a Specialist Circuit Judge in 2017. She is the designated Technology and Construction Court Judge in Birmingham. She is authorised to sit as a Judge of the High Court in the Technology and Construction Court, the Circuit Commercial Court and the Chancery Division. She is a course tutor for the Judicial College Civil training course.
HHJ David Worster
HHJ Worster was called to the Bar in 1980 and practised in Birmingham from 7, Fountain Court and then from St Philips Chambers. Much of his work was in the Birmingham Mercantile and Chancery Courts. He was a member of the AG’s Panel from 1995-2007. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2001, a Circuit Judge in 2008 and a Senior Circuit Judge in 2017. He is the designated Mercantile Judge for Birmingham. He is authorised to sit as a Judge of the High Court in the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions, the Mercantile Court and the Administrative Court. He is assigned as a Judge of the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum Chamber. He is a Course Director for the Judicial College Civil training courses, and a Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn.
Publications: Williams, Mortimer & Sunnucks: Executors, Administrators & Probate (20th ed., 2014: Sweet & Maxwell) (21st ed. in progress) Theobald on Wills (18th Ed. 2016; Sweet & Maxwell)