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The Directory: Courts and Tribunals
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Court of final appeal for those Commonwealth countries which have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee. It is also the final appeal court for the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and United Kingdom overseas territories. It also has certain domestic jurisdiction within the United Kingdom, including the function of being the court of final appeal for determining 'devolution issues' under the United Kingdom devolution statutes of 1998. Site includes judgments, practice directions and contact details.
The final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases. It hears appeals in criminal cases from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It hears cases of the greatest public or constitutional importance affecting the whole population. Continues the work previously undertaken by the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.
We hear appeals against certain decisions by: all 3 divisions of the High Court of Justice and their specialist courts, including the Administrative Court county courts the Family Court We also hear appeals against certain decisions by the: Competition Appeal Tribunal Employment Appeal Tribunal Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) For all these cases we also handle applications for permission to appeal.
What we do We hear appeals from proceedings in the Crown Court. We hear appeals against: convictions in the Crown Court sentences given by the Crown Court (even if the conviction was in a magistrate’s court) confiscation orders imposed by the Crown Court For all these cases we also handle applications for permission (‘leave’) to appeal. We also hear other types of appeal from proceedings in the Crown Court, including cases referred to us by the Attorney General where there is concern that the sentence given by the Crown Court may have been too lenient. We also hear appeals from decisions made by ‘service courts’ (military courts) and are known as the ‘Court Martial Appeal Court’ when we do.
We review decisions made by people or bodies with a public law function, eg local authorities and regulatory bodies. We can: carry out a judicial review of decisions made by other courts, tribunals and public bodies hear challenges to decisions made by certain people or bodies (eg ministers or local government) where legislation has given the right to challenge We also hear: applications for ‘habeas corpus’, (a legal procedure where the court decides to rule on whether the detention of an individual is legal applications to prevent someone who continues to initiate groundless legal proceedings (a ‘vexatious litigant’) from continuing to do so without first obtaining permission from a court all applications under the Coroners Act 1988 (which deals with the appointment and conduct of coroners) appeals ‘by way of case stated’ from the Crown Court or magistrates’ courts (where our opinion is sought on a particular point of law where a mistake may have been made) applications for an order to imprison a person for contempt of court appeals under the Extradition Act 2003 (which deals with extradition requests to and from the United Kingdom and bail) appeals against decisions made by some professional bodies, eg the Nursing and Midwifery Council applications for ‘restraint orders’ or ‘certificates of inadequacy’ where assets have been frozen or confiscated We also contain a specialist Planning Court which handles judicial reviews of decisions about planning permission and other challenges to planning decisions.
We handle shipping and maritime disputes. Cases that we hear include: collisions between ships disputes over the transport of cargo salvage of a ship, cargo or crew disputes over goods supplied to a ship disputes over mortgages and other security over ships claims by passengers for injuries suffered claims by ship crew for unpaid wages claims by shipowners to limit liability for loss or damage We handle both claims brought against the owner of a ship ('in personam' claims) and claims brought against the ship itself ('in rem' claims). We can also hear claims brought against other types of crafts (for example aircraft) as well as cargo. We can seize ('arrest') ships and cargos to prevent them being moved and can also sell them within England and Wales.
We handle petitions to bankrupt individuals living in London where a creditor has made the petition and is owed £50,000 or more. If the petition is less than this amount and the debtor lives in London then it will be heard by the Central London County Court based at the Thomas More Building in the Royal Courts of Justice. Petitions where the debtor lives outside of London will be heard by a local county court. Other petitions that we handle include: those brought by creditors where the debtor has no fixed abode applications by undischarged bankrupts for permission to act as a company director applications to set aside statutory demands where the debt is £50,000 or more We do not deal with petitions to declare yourself bankrupt.
The most common types of case we handle include: disputes relating to business, property or land disputes over trusts competition claims under either European or UK competition law commercial disputes (domestic and international) intellectual property issues disputes over the validity of a will (‘probate disputes’) We also hear appeals about: decisions of masters insolvency decisions made by High Court registrars or the County Court most decisions of the County Court decisions of certain tribunals We also handle a wide range of other issues which include: claims relating to partnerships (eg dissolution) cancelling, setting aside or correcting (‘rectifying’) errors in deeds and other legal instruments breaches of trust or contract professional negligence
We handle complex national and international business disputes. Cases that we hear include: disputes over contracts and business documents insurance and reinsurance sale of commodities import, export and transport (‘carriage’) of goods issues relating to arbitration awards banking and financial services agency and management agreements construction of ships Many of these cases can also be heard by the Mercantile Court. However, we generally hear the more complex cases, or cases where there is a large amount at stake.
We handle cases relating to the insolvency of companies, including: petitions to wind up a company applications to unfreeze bank accounts or challenge a winding up petition applications to restore a company to the register after it has been struck off We also handle a number of other cases concerning companies, including: applications for approval of a reduction in share capital or share premium registration of charges after the time limit appeals against a decision by a liquidator to reject a proof of debt in an insolvency applications by either the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills or the Official Receiver to disqualify a director (and applications to act as one following disqualification)
We make decisions on financial or welfare matters for people who can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (they ‘lack mental capacity’). We are responsible for: deciding whether someone has the mental capacity to make a particular decision for themselves appointing deputies to make ongoing decisions for people who lack mental capacity giving people permission to make one-off decisions on behalf of someone else who lacks mental capacity handling urgent or emergency applications where a decision must be made on behalf of someone else without delay making decisions about a lasting power of attorney or enduring power of attorney and considering any objections to their registration considering applications to make statutory wills or gifts making decisions about when someone can be deprived of their liberty under the Mental Capacity Act
We hear cases where a child who is the subject of legal proceedings must be protected and this protection is not possible under the Children Act 1989. This is called our ‘inherent jurisdiction’. The most common type of case is where a child is made a ‘ward of the court’ (court consent is needed for important decisions). We also handle cases of international child abduction but only if the abduction falls under either: the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Brussels II Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 We can also hear cases about forced marriage, female genital mutilation and applications for financial relief where a divorce has taken place outside England and Wales. The Family Court can also hear these cases and we will usually transfer straightforward cases to them. The Family Court will normally hear all other cases about family issues, but may transfer some cases to us, for instance if complex issues are involved. We also hear appeals from certain decisions made by the Family Court.
We handle cases relating to intellectual property disputes, including: registered designs patents registered trade marks copyrights other intellectual property rights If the amount sought (damages) is under £500,000 then the case can also be heard by the Patents Court or the Chancery Division. These 2 courts will hear cases where the amount sought is over £500,000, unless all parties agree that we may hear it. Certain intellectual property disputes where the amount sought is £10,000 or less will be handled by our small claims track and will be heard at the Thomas More Building in the Royal Courts of Justice.
We handle commercial and business disputes. Cases that we hear include: disputes over contracts and business documents insurance and reinsurance sale of goods import, export and transport (carriage) of goods professional negligence in commercial circumstances (eg solicitors and accountants) issues relating to arbitration awards restraint of trade banking and financial services agency and management agreements share sale agreements confidential information injunctions There are no restrictions on the size of claims which can be brought to the Mercantile Court. Cases will ordinarily be heard if they are of a genuine business nature and appropriate for the court.
We handle cases relating to intellectual property disputes about: patents registered designs plant varieties If the amount sought (damages) is under £500,000 then the case can also be heard by the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. If the amount sought is over £500,000 then we will normally handle the case unless all the parties to the case have agreed that the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court may hear it or we have transferred the case at the request of one of the parties.
We carry out judicial reviews of decisions made by planning authorities, and hear other challenges to planning decisions. This includes appeals and applications relating to: planning permission development consent compulsory purchase orders highways and other rights of way decisions under EU environmental legislation
The cases we most commonly handle are disputes relating to: personal injury negligence breach of contract breach of a statutory duty breach of the Human Rights Act 1998 libel, slander and other torts non-payment of a debt and ‘enforcement orders’ which allow the court to ensure that a party complies with a judgment against them Many of these cases can also be heard by the Chancery Division. We also handle: applications to ‘enrol’ (register) deeds, including changing your name by deed poll registration of judgments obtained abroad so that they can be enforced in England and Wales election petitions to challenge the results of Parliamentary, European Parliamentary and local government elections applications for bail serving documents overseas and obtaining evidence for foreign courts registration and satisfaction of ‘bills of sale’ (legal agreements transferring title between a seller and a purchaser) ‘interpleader proceedings’ where a High Court Enforcement Officer is attempting to recover goods to settle a debt and a third party claims to be the owner of the goods All of these cases can only be heard by the Queen’s Bench Division. We maintain a list of group litigation orders (for managing cases where there are multiple claimants or defendants). We contain a number of specialist courts with their own individual areas of work: the Administrative Court the Admiralty Court the Commercial Court the Mercantile Court the Technology and Construction Court
We assess the costs and expenses incurred in civil litigation in order to decide how much: a successful party in litigation can recover from their opponent a barrister or solicitor can recover from public funds a client should have to pay their solicitor We can reduce these costs and expenses if necessary. We carry out this review in cases handled by: the Chancery, Family and Queen's Bench divisions of the High Court the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) the Court of Protection the County Court in London tribunals We also deal with costs assessments transferred to us from other county court centres and district registries and appeals against costs decisions made by the Legal Aid Agency.
We handle disputes about buildings, engineering and surveying. Cases that we hear include: claims about services provided by engineers, architects, surveyors and other professionals in this sector claims about local authority duties relating to land and buildings environmental claims (eg pollution) claims resulting from fires challenges to decisions of arbitrators in construction and engineering disputes We do not normally handle cases with a value of less than £250,000 unless there is a good reason, eg the case involves a new or difficult point of law or the case is international.
Forms part of the Family Division of the High Court. It deals with non-contentious probate business (where there is no dispute about the validity of a will or entitlement to take a grant), and issues grants of probate (when the deceased person left a valid will and an executor is acting), letters of administration with will (when a person has left a valid will but no executor is acting); or letters of administration (usually when there is no valid will). These grants of representation appoint personal representatives to administer the estate.
Resolves a range of disputes, including disputes between landlords and tenants, in agriculture, farming and crofting.
Deals with contested directions hearings and appeals on summary costs decisions.