In a move designed to protect the UK’s leading position for international business and dispute resolution, the High Court’s specialist courts and lists will be restructured, becoming the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales from June 2017.

The new structure will mean that judges masters, and registrars in bankruptcy of the Rolls Building and many judges in specialist district registries can be deployed more widely across the courts for cases within their specialism, providing more flexibility and benefit to court users.

The courts affected by the restructure are:

  • 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
  • The Financial List (covering banking and financial markets)
  • The Companies and Insolvency Court
  • The Patents Court
  • The Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court
  • The Competition List

The intention is to also add other courts and lists in the future to include the existing business and property cases in the Chancery Division.

As well as London, there will also be Business and Property Courts in Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Birmingham, with further courts expected in Liverpool and Newcastle.

In the press release from the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, is quoted as saying:

“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.”

I would be inclined to agree with him.

Peter Watt

Peter is an authorised High Court Enforcement Officer and Chairman of The Sheriffs Office.

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