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.”