The Business & Property Courts of England and Wales became operational on 2 October 2017. Intended as a ‘single umbrella for specialist civil jurisdictions in England and Wales’, the new regime essentially encompasses the Commercial Court, the Chancery Division Courts and the Technology and Construction Court.
What does this mean in practice?
The most immediate difference is the manner in which the relevant courts (and lists) are now referred to. For example, a winding-up petition which would previously be addressed to the ‘High Court of Justice, Chancery Division, Manchester District Registry’ would now be properly directed to:
THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS IN MANCHESTER
INSOLVENCY & COMPANIES LIST (ChD)
An Advisory Note has been published by the Government, detailing the courts, lists and sub-lists which a claim may be allocated to. The Business and Property Courts are established within the five main regional centres (Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff); and it is envisaged that additional centres will be operational in Newcastle and Liverpool in due course.
Beyond these more superficial changes, it is intended in the long term that the reforms will facilitate the ‘flexible cross-deployment of judges’ between areas, and provide a more simple method of transferring claims between the Rolls Building in London and the regional centres.
For the time being, the manner in which the courts themselves will operate remains unaffected, and e-filing is only mandatory in respect of the Rolls Building High Court jurisdictions. Claim forms should continue to be issued in the same manner as before within the regional centres.
Should you require any further information, please contact Michelle Summers on 0333 200 5200.