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More flexible deployment of judges planned as specialist civil courts renamed

Specialist civil courts – including the Technology and Construction Court and the courts of the Chancery Division – are to be known as the “Business and Property Courts of England and Wales” from June of this year, it has been announced.

Acting as a single umbrella for business specialist courts across England and Wales, they will also encompass the Commercial Court (including the Admiralty Court).

The Courts and Tribunals Judiciary said: “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 sit on appropriate business and property cases.

“This new structure together with the Financial List and the 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.”

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The judiciary said there would also be Business and Property Courts in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and in Cardiff, with expansions to Newcastle and Liverpool likely in the future.

“The new arrangements will enhance the connection between the specialist Business and Property work undertaken in the regions and in London,” it argued.

In London, these specialist jurisdictions already operate together at the Rolls Building.

Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd , the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, said: “The judiciary is committed to maintaining Britain’s reputation as the best place in the world for court-based dispute resolution. These changes will ensure that our courts and judiciary continue to lead the world in this field.”

The Lord Chancellor, Elizabeth Truss said she strongly supported the changes.

Sir Brian Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division, added: “Cross deployment of judges across the Chancery and Queen’s Bench Divisions for the purposes of the Financial List has demonstrated the real value of flexible deployment in appropriate cases.  This development will be of benefit both to the courts and the users of the courts.” 

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