The new structure, together with the Financial List and the Shorter and Flexible Trial Scheme, is intended to ‘enhance the UK’s already respected reputation for international dispute resolution’ and help in the effort to stave off competition from other jurisdictions.
Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, commented: ‘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 Business and Property Courts will also sit in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff, with expansions to Newcastle and Liverpool likely in the future.
The judiciary has announced a reorganisation of the higher civil courts that will allow judges to be deployed across a greater range of cases in their specialisms. From June this year, the specialist courts and lists of the High Court will be known as the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales. The new arrangement encompasses the Commercial Court (including the Admiralty Court), the Technology and Construction Court and the courts of the Chancery Division. The judiciary says the changes will preserve familiar practices and procedures of specialist courts but allow for more flexibility in where judges are deployed. Currently judges who are experts in a particular area are not readily deployed to sit in cases in that area in another court.