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Senior Courts Act 1981

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Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:

Distribution of businessE+W

61 Distribution of business among Divisions.E+W

(1)Subject to any provision made by or under this or any other Act (and in particular to any rules of court made in pursuance of subsection (2) and any order under subsection (3)), business in the High Court of any description mentioned in Schedule 1, as for the time being in force, shall be distributed among the Divisions in accordance with that Schedule.

(2)Rules of court may provide for the distribution of business in the High Court among the Divisions; but any rules made in pursuance of this subsection shall have effect subject to any orders for the time being in force under subsection (3).

(3)Subject to subsection (5), the [F1Lord Chief Justice may, with the concurrence of the Lord Chancellor,] by order—

(a)direct that any business in the High Court which is not for the time being assigned by or under this or any other Act to any Division be assigned to such Division as may be specified in the order;

(b)if at any time it [F2appears to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor] desirable to do so with a view to the more convenient administration of justice, direct that any business for the time being assigned by or under this or any other Act to any Division be assigned to such other Division as may be specified in the order; and

(c)amend Schedule 1 so far as may be necessary in consequence of provision made by order under paragraph (a) or (b).

(4)The powers conferred by subsection (2) and subsection (3) include power to assign business of any description to two or more Divisions concurrently.

(5) No order under subsection (3)(b) relating to any business shall be made without the concurrence of the senior judge of—

(a)the Division or each of the Divisions to which the business is for the time being assigned; and

(b)the Division or each of the Divisions to which the business is to be assigned by the order.

(6)Subject to rules of court, the fact that a cause or matter commenced in the High Court falls within a class of business assigned by or under this Act to a particular Division does not make it obligatory for it to be allocated or transferred to that Division.

(7)Without prejudice to subsections (1) to (5) and section 63, rules of court may provide for the distribution of the business (other than business required to be heard by a divisional court) in any Division of the High Court among the judges of that Division.

(8)Any order under subsection (3) shall be made by statutory instrument, which shall be laid before Parliament after being made.

[F3(9)The Lord Chief Justice may nominate a judicial office holder (as defined in section 109(4) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005) to exercise his functions under subsection (3).]

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Amendments (Textual)

62 Business of Patents, Admiralty and Commercial Courts.E+W

(1)The Patents Court shall take such proceedings relating to patents as are within the jurisdiction conferred on it by the M1Patents Act 1977, and such other proceedings relating to patents or other matters as may be prescribed.

(2)The Admiralty Court shall take Admiralty business, that is to say causes and matters assigned to the Queen’s Bench Division and involving the exercise of the High Court’s Admiralty jurisdiction or its jurisdiction as a prize court.

(3)The Commercial Court shall take such causes and matters as may in accordance with rules of court be entered in the commercial list.

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Marginal Citations

63 Business assigned to specially nominated judges.E+W

(1)Any business assigned, in accordance with this or any other Act or rules of court, to one or more specially nominated judges of the High Court may—

(a)during vacation; or

(b)during the illness or absence of that judge or any of those judges; or

(c)for any other reasonable cause,

be dealt with by any judge of the High Court named for that purpose [F4by the Lord Chief Justice after consulting the Lord Chancellor].

(2)If at any time it appears to the [F5Lord Chief Justice, after consulting the Lord Chancellor, to be] desirable to do so with a view to the more convenient administration of justice, he may by order direct that business of any description which is for the time being assigned, in accordance with this or any other Act or rules of court, to one or more specially nominated judges of the High Court shall cease to be so assigned and may be dealt with by any one or more judges of the High Court.

(3)An order under subsection (2) shall not be made in respect of any business without the concurrence of the senior judge of the Division to which the business is for the time being assigned.

[F6(4)The Lord Chief Justice may nominate a judicial office holder (as defined in section 109(4) of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005) to exercise his functions under subsection (1) or (2).]

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Annotations are used to give authority for changes and other effects on the legislation you are viewing and to convey editorial information. They appear at the foot of the relevant provision or under the associated heading. Annotations are categorised by annotation type, such as F-notes for textual amendments and I-notes for commencement information (a full list can be found in the Editorial Practice Guide). Each annotation is identified by a sequential reference number. For F-notes, M-notes and X-notes, the number also appears in bold superscript at the relevant location in the text. All annotations contain links to the affecting legislation.

Amendments (Textual)

64 Choice of Division by plaintiff.E+W

(1)Without prejudice to the power of transfer under section 65, the person by whom any cause or matter is commenced in the High Court shall in the prescribed manner allocate it to whichever Division he thinks fit.

(2)Where a cause or matter is commenced in the High Court, all subsequent interlocutory or other steps or proceedings in the High Court in that cause or matter shall be taken in the Division to which the cause or matter is for the time being allocated (whether under subsection (1) or in consequence of its transfer under section 65).

65 Power of transfer.E+W

(1)Any cause or matter may at any time and at any stage thereof, and either with or without application from any of the parties, be transferred, by such authority and in such manner as rules of court may direct, from one Division or judge of the High Court to another Division or judge thereof.

(2)The transfer of a cause or matter under subsection (1) to a different Division or judge of the High Court shall not affect the validity of any steps or proceedings taken or order made in that cause or matter before the transfer.

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