Clients with specialist business and property cases can look forward to a more convenient arrangement and shorter waiting times, with the introduction of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales (B&PCs).
The new courts, which began operating on 2nd October 2017, are for the specialist jurisdiction of the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division Courts and the Technology and Construction Court. Business & Property Courts (B&PCs) have opened in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester.
The B&PCs will allow specialist cases to be tried by a High Court judge not only in London, but in regional centres around England and Wales. This should be more convenient for parties involved in cases brought outside of London. It should also reduce waiting times, as these tend to be shorter regionally than for cases held in London.
The B&PCs are divided into 10 separate specialist courts or lists with some further sub-divisions, and will apply the same practices and procedures under the Civil Procedure Rules as before, retaining their own procedural Guides.
Once the Practice Direction relating to the B&PCs is approved by the Master of the Rolls and signed off by a Minister, new rules will allow cases with specific regional links to be transferred to that region and tried by a specialist judge. The B&PCs can then fulfil their role, of providing specialist courts that bring specialist judgments, nationwide.
In the meantime, claims already proceeding in the Chancery Division before 2nd October 2017 will continue under the control of the same Master (or Judge).