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The new Business and Property Courts of England and Wales

April 2017 - Issue 92

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 from June 2017, becoming the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales.

This new structure together with the Financial List and 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.

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. 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 site in appropriate business and property cases.

The courts affected by the restructure include the Technology and Construction Court (the specialist court dealing with technology and construction disputes and other disputes that involve questions or issues that are technically complex) and the intention is to add other courts and lists in the future to include the existing business and property cases in the Chancery Division.

There will also be Business and Property Courts in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff, with expansion to Newcastle and Liverpool likely in the future.

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.”

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