From today, the previous system of some 170 separate county courts for different geographical areas has been replaced by a single national entity with a national jurisdiction for civil cases in England and Wales, known as the County Court. This change has been brought in by the Crime and Courts Act 2013, implementing proposals in the government’s 2011 consultation, Solving Disputes in the County Courts. The County Court will sit at existing county court locations throughout England and Wales which will be referred to as County Court hearing centres.
Also from today, there is a change to the minimum value of claim that can be commenced in the High Court, from £25,000 to £100,000 (with the exception of personal injury claims). The stated aim of this reform is to ease work pressures on the High Court to enable it to focus on complex cases that truly require its expertise.