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Triple Boost for Birmingham Business & Legal Community

The President of the Queen’s Bench Division and the Chancellor have this week confirmed that the new Business and Property Courts will be formally opened in Birmingham by the Lord Chief Justice, the Rt Hon. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, on Thursday, 6th July 2017. 

The new courts have already been strengthened by two key judicial appointments.  Former St Philips commercial barrister, His Honour Judge David Worster, has been appointed as the new Mercantile Judge while the city’s booming Chancery Court has been strengthened by the appointment of another St Philips alumnus, His Honour Judge Patrick McCahill QC. Judge McCahill joins the exceptional Chancery line-up of Judges Charles Purle QC, Simon Barker QC and David Cooke.

The Business and Property Courts in Birmingham will combine the strengths of the city’s Chancery court with the Mercantile and Technology and Construction Courts (TCC), and will introduce flexible listing and modern procedures.  The new courts aim to meet three objectives:

  1. ensuring that each case is managed to deliver progress to trial without delay
  2. trial by the most appropriate judge (whether a resident specialist judge or a High Court judge)
  3. the provision of an efficient and effective service utilising modern technology to best advantage

This innovation has been the result of the combined efforts of the HMCTS Birmingham, Regional and High Court teams and the specialist judges and the Circuit and District Bench, who have been working hard for a year on an implementation plan to convert the vision to a reality.   They in turn also received invaluable support and service suggestions from the Midlands business community, led by the High Sheriff for the West Midlands, Dr Keith Bradshaw, the Midland Chancery and Commercial Bar Association (MCCBA), the Birmingham Law Society and senior commercial litigators.

Ed Pepperall QC, Chairman of the MCCBA, commented: “The MCCBA warmly welcomes the launch of the new Business and Property Courts. The new courts, which are supported by a strengthened local judicial team and by a greater commitment to having full High Court judges sitting in the city, will ensure that Lord Justice Briggs’ assertion that ‘no case is too big to be tried in the regions’ is very much true in Birmingham.

The Association is delighted by the appointment of Judge David Worster as the city’s new Mercantile judge. Judge Worster will be known to many as a very effective commercial barrister. Since his appointment to the bench, he has proved himself to be a fair and user-friendly judge who has earned the trust and respect of the legal community. He is ideally placed to resurrect the fortunes of the Birmingham Mercantile Court. 

The Association also welcomes Judge Patrick McCahill QC back to Birmingham. Judge McCahill was a very successful Chancery & Commercial barrister in the city before his appointment as Chancery judge in Bristol. He returns to us after 10 years’ exile with an excellent reputation as a popular and respected judge.”

Business and Property Courts will also sit in London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Cardiff, with expansions to Newcastle and Liverpool likely in the future. Birmingham is, however, first off the mark. 

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