From June of this year, the specialist civil courts are to be known as the “Business and Property Courts of England and Wales”, the Courts and Tribunals Judiciary has announced. The Business and Property Courts will bring together all the business specialist courts in the High Court of England and Wales under a single umbrella for the first time, comprising:
- the Commercial Court;
- 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; and
- the Competition List.
Other courts and lists are likely to be added in future, such as the business and property cases that are currently heard in the Chancery Division. Business specialist courts currently exist in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Manchester, Leeds, and the Rolls Building in London. There are plans to expand them to Liverpool and Newcastle.
The practices and procedures of the courts are not expected to change, but judges with suitable expertise will be cross-deployed across all of them in a more flexible manner. The judiciary hopes that the changes will help to maintain Britain’s reputation as a world-leading jurisdiction for dispute resolution.