Severn-Hafren

NIPC Severn/Hafren

IP and technology law news and comment from the Greater Bristol and South-East Wales city regions.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Better than the M4 - "The Judicial Superhighway"

Author John Grayson
Licence Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0

















Jane Lambert

The Chancery Division, Circuit Commercial and Technology and Construction Courts sitting in Bristol and Cardiff are now known as "the Business and Property Courts" and linked to the Rolls Building in London  (see The Business and Property Courts of England and Wales Advisory note 27 Sep 2017 Judiciary website). The link between the courts in Bristol and Cardiff and London has been described as a "judicial superhighway" (see The Business and Property Courts of England & Wales - An Explanatory Statement  18 May 2017 by Sir Geoffrey Vos and Sir Brian Leveson). The objective of the judicial superhighway is to enable any kind of case to proceed outside London.

It will be possible to bring cases in Bristol or Cardiff if:

  • "one or more of the parties has an address or registered office in the circuit (particularly if the party is non-represented); 
  • at least one or more of the witnesses is located in the circuit; 
  • at least one of the witnesses expected to give oral evidence is located within the circuit 
  • the dispute occurred in a location within the circuit; 
  • the dispute concerns land, goods or other assets located in the circuit; or 
  • the parties’ legal representatives are based in the circuit."
One of the lists of the Business and Property Courts is the Intellectual Property List which is itself subdivided into lists for the Patents Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") and the Chancery Division. Cases relating to patents, registered and registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies and plant breeders' rights must proceed in the Patents Court or the IPEC multitrack. Both courts are based in the Rolls Building but the Patents Court and IPEC Guides state that the Patents and Enterprise Judges will sit outside London for the convenience of the parties or to save time or costs. All other IP cases - that is to say, those involving breaches of confidence, copyrights, database rights, passing off, rights in performances, trade marks, unregistered Community designs and unregistered design rights - can be issued out of the Bristol or Cardiff District Registries or IPEC. Claims that can be tried in 2 days or less where the amount in dispute is less than £500,000 should be issued out of IPEC. 

Claims issued out of the Business and Property Courts must be headed as follows:

"IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS IN BRISTOL
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LIST (ChD)"

or 

"IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE 
BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS OF ENGLAND AND WALES 
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LIST
PATENTS COURT (ChD)"

Claims in the Business and Property Courts that are issued after 2 Oct 2017 will be given a claim number with a prefix that reflects the Court, List or sub-list in which they are issued. The prefix for Patents Court claims is "HP", the prefix for IPEC claims is "IP" and the prefix for IP claims in the Chancery Division is "IL"

Anyone wishing to discuss this article or IP litigation generally should call me on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 during office hours or send me a message through my contact form.

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