- Latest available (Revised)
- Original (As enacted)
There are outstanding changes not yet made by the legislation.gov.uk editorial team to Senior Courts Act 1981. Any changes that have already been made by the team appear in the content and are referenced with annotations.
Revised legislation carried on this site may not be fully up to date. Changes and effects are recorded by our editorial team in lists which can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area. Where those effects have yet to be applied to the text of the legislation by the editorial team they are also listed alongside the legislation in the affected provisions. Use the ‘more’ link to open the changes and effects relevant to the provision you are viewing.
This section lists the changes and effects yet to be applied to the whole Act, associated Parts and Chapters where applicable. This includes any insertions of whole new Parts, Chapters or provisions yet to be inserted into this Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing.
Whole provisions yet to be inserted into this Act (including any effects on those provisions):
This section lists the commencement orders yet to be applied to the whole Act. These effects are included in this view as they may be (but won’t necessarily be) relevant to the specific provision that you are viewing. Where applicable the commencement orders are listed under two headings, firstly those that bring some part of the Act you are viewing into force and secondly, those that bring into force legislation that affects some part of the legislation you are viewing. If you are viewing a prospective version or there is a prospective version available there may be commencement orders listed here that are relevant to the provision you are viewing.
Commencement Orders bringing legislation that affects this Act into force:
When the Great Seal is in commission, the Lords Commissioners shall represent the Lord Chancellor for the purposes of this Act; but the powers vested in him by this Act in relation to—
(a)the appointment of officers, and
(b)any act for which the concurrence or presence of the Lord Chancellor is required by this Act,
may be exercised by the senior Lord Commissioner for the time being.
F1. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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.
(2)The conveyancing counsel of the court shall be not more than six, not less than three, in number, and shall be appointed by the Lord Chancellor [F4with the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice].
[F5(3)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 this section.]
Every document purporting to be sealed or stamped with the seal or stamp of the [F6Senior Courts] or of any office of the [F6Senior Courts] shall be received in evidence in all parts of the United Kingdom without further proof.
(1)The Master of the Rolls may make regulations for authorising and regulating the enrolment or filing of instruments in the [F7Senior Courts], and for prescribing the form in which certificates of enrolment or filing are to be issued.
(2)Regulations under subsection (1) shall not affect the operation of any enactment requiring or authorising the enrolment of any instrument in the [F7Senior Courts] or prescribing the manner in which any instrument is to be enrolled there.
(3)Any instrument which is required or authorised by or under this or any other Act to be enrolled or engrossed in the [F7Senior Courts] shall be deemed to have been duly enrolled or engrossed if it is written on material authorised or required by regulations under subsection (1) and has been filed or otherwise preserved in accordance with regulations under that subsection.
(4)The Lord Chancellor may, with the concurrence of the Master of the Rolls and of the Treasury, make regulations prescribing the fees to be paid on the enrolment or filing of any instrument in the [F7Senior Courts], including any additional fees payable on the enrolment or filing of any instrument out of time.
(5)Any regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument, which shall be laid before Parliament after being made; and the M1Statutory Instruments Act 1946 shall apply to a statutory instrument containing regulations under subsection (1) in like manner as if the regulations had been made by a Minister of the Crown.
(1)This section applies to any instrument creating, or verifying the execution of, a power of attorney which was deposited in the Central Office of the [F8Senior Courts] before 1st October 1971.
(2)A separate file of such instruments shall continue to be kept and, subject to payment of any [F9the fee prescribed by an order under section 92 of the Courts Act 2003 (fees)]—
(a)any person may search that file, and may inspect any such instrument; and
(b)an office copy of any such instrument shall be issued to any person on request.
(3)A document purporting to be an office copy of any such instrument shall, in any part of the United Kingdom, without further proof be sufficient evidence of the contents of the instrument and of its having been deposited as mentioned in subsection (1).
(1)A bond to be given by any person under or for the purposes of any order of the High Court or the civil division of the Court of Appeal shall be given in such form and to such officer of the court as may be prescribed and, if the court so requires, with one or more sureties.
(2)An officer of the court to whom a bond is given in accordance with subsection (1) shall as such have power to enforce it or to assign it, pursuant to an order of the court under subsection (4), to some other person.
(3)Where by rules of court made for the purposes of this section another officer is at any time substituted for the officer previously prescribed as the officer to whom bonds of any class are to be given, the rules may provide that bonds of that class given before the rules come into operation shall have effect as if references in the bonds to the officer previously prescribed were references to the substituted officer.
(4)Where it appears to the court that the condition of a bond given in accordance with subsection (1) has been broken, the court may, on an application in that behalf, order the bond to be assigned to such person as may be specified in the order.
(5)A person to whom a bond is ordered to be assigned under subsection (4) shall be entitled by virtue of the order to sue on the bond in his own name as if it had been originally given to him, and to recover on it as trustee for all persons interested the full amount recoverable in respect of the breach of condition.
(1)[F11Rules may be made in accordance with Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005] for providing that, in any case where a document filed in, or in the custody of, any office of the [F10Senior Courts] is required to be produced to any court or tribunal (including an umpire or arbitrator) sitting elsewhere than at the Royal Courts of Justice—
(a)it shall not be necessary for any officer, whether served with a subpoena in that behalf or not, to attend for the purpose of producing the document; but
(b)the document may be produced to the court or tribunal by sending it to the court or tribunal, in the manner prescribed in the rules, together with a certificate, in the form so prescribed, to the effect that the document has been filed in, or is in the custody of, the office;
and any such certificate shall be prima facie evidence of the facts stated in it.
(2)Rules under this section may contain—
(a)provisions for securing the safe custody and return to the proper office of the [F10Senior Courts] of any document sent to a court or tribunal in pursuance of the rules; and
(b)such incidental and supplementary provisions as appear to the [F12person making the rules] to be necessary or expedient.
(3)F13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Where in pursuance of any enactment, whenever passed, any money has (before or after the commencement of this Act) been paid—
(a)into the Bank of England in the name of the Accountant General of the [F14Senior Courts]; or
(b)into the [F14Senior Courts],
then, if that enactment has been or is subsequently repealed—
(i)the Accountant General may continue to deal with the money; and
(ii)any powers of the High Court with respect to the money shall continue to be exercisable,
in all respects as if that enactment had not been repealed.
F15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
F16. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
F17. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(a)in subsection (1), paragraph (c) of the proviso (which precludes the making of orders under that subsection by the High Court or a county court in respect of money payable on account of a deposit in the National Savings Bank) shall cease to have effect; and
(b)after subsection (2) there shall be added—
“(3)In their application to England and Wales the preceding provisions of this section shall have effect subject to any order for the time being in force under section 139(2) of the Supreme Court Act 1981.”.
(2)The Lord Chancellor may by order direct that section 27(1) and (2) of the M3Crown Proceedings Act 1947 (attachment of moneys payable by the Crown) shall not apply in relation to any money payable by the Crown to any person on account of—
(a)any deposit in the National Savings Bank; or
(b)a deposit in that Bank of any description specified in the order.
(3)Any order under subsection (2) shall be made by statutory instrument subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.
(4)Without prejudice to section 153(4), this section extends to England and Wales only.
(1)Payment of a fine imposed, or sum due under a recognizance forfeited, by the High Court or the civil division of the Court of Appeal may be enforced upon the order of the court—
(a)in like manner as a judgment of the High Court for the payment of money; or
(b)in like manner as a fine imposed by the Crown Court.
(2)Where payment of a fine or other sum falls to be enforced as mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) upon an order of the High Court or the civil division of the Court of Appeal under that subsection—
(a)the court shall, if the fine or the other sum is not paid in full forthwith or within such time as the court may allow, certify to Her Majesty’s Remembrancer the sum payable; and
(b)Her Majesty’s Remembrancer shall thereupon proceed to enforce payment of that sum as if it were due to him as a judgment debt.
(3)Where payment of a fine or other sum falls to be enforced as mentioned in paragaph (b) of subsection (1) upon an order of the High Court or the civil division of the Court of Appeal under that subsection, the provisions of [F18sections 139 and 140 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000] shall apply to that fine or other sum as they apply to a fine imposed by the Crown Court.
(4)Where payment of a fine or other sum has become enforceable by Her Majesty’s Remembrancer by virtue of this section or section 16 of the M4Contempt of Court Act 1981, any payment received by him in respect of that fine or other sum shall be dealt with by him in such manner as the Lord Chancellor may direct.
(5)In this section, and in [F18sections 139 and 140 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000] as extended by this section, “fine” includes a penalty imposed in civil proceedings.
F19. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(1)The judges to be placed on the rota for the trial of parliamentary election petitions in England and Wales under Part III of the [F20Representation of the People Act 1983] in each year shall be selected, in such manner as may be provided by rules of court, from the judges of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court exclusive of any who are members of the House of Lords.
(2)Notwithstanding the expiry of the year for which a judge has been placed on the rota he may act as if that year had not expired for the purpose of continuing to deal with, giving judgment in, or dealing with ancillary matter relating to, any case with which he may have been concerned during that year.
(3)Any judge placed on the rota shall be eligible to be placed on the rota again in the succeeding or any subsequent year.
(1)The M5Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968 shall be amended as follows.
(2)In section 2(1)(a) (under which the judges of the Courts-Martial Appeal Court include such judges of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court as may be nominated for that purpose by the Lord Chief Justice after consultation with the Master of the Rolls), the words “of the Queen’s Bench Division” and “after consultation with the Master of the Rolls” shall be omitted.
(3)In section 3(a) (under which the powers of the Courts-Martial Appeal Court may be exercised by any judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court), the words “of the Queen’s Bench Division” shall be omitted.
(4)For section 5 (constitution of Appeal Court for particular sittings) there shall be substituted—
“5(1)Subject to subsection (4) below, the Appeal Court shall be duly constituted if it consists of an uneven number of judges not less than three.
(a)part of any proceedings before the Appeal Court has been heard by an uneven number of judges greater than three; and
(b)one or more members of the Court as constituted for the purpose of those proceedings are unable to continue,
then, subject to subsection (4) below, the Court shall remain duly constituted for the purpose of those proceedings so long as the number of members (whether even or uneven) is not reduced to less than three.
(3)Subject to subsection (4) below, the Appeal Court shall, if it consists of two judges, be duly constituted for every purpose except—
(a)determining an appeal against—
(ii)a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity; or
(iii)a finding of unfitness to stand trial;
(b)determining an application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords; and
(c)refusing an application for leave to appeal to the Appeal Court against conviction or any such finding as is mentioned in paragraph (a)(ii) or (iii), other than an application which has been refused by a single judge.
(4)At least one of the judges of which the Appeal Court consists at any sitting must be a judge of the Court by virtue of section 2(1) of this Act, except that where the Court is directed to sit at a place outside the United Kingdom the Lord Chancellor may, if he thinks it expedient to do so, direct that this provision shall not apply to the Court while sitting at that place.
(5)Where an appeal has been heard by the Appeal Court and the Court as constituted for that purpose consists of an even number of judges, then, if those judges are equally divided, the case shall be re-argued before and determined by an uneven number of judges not less than three.”.
(5)In section 36(2) (rights of appellant on refusal of single judge to exercise certain powers in his favour) for “for the hearing and determination of appeals” there shall be substituted “for the purpose in accordance with section 5 of this Act”.
For section 24 of the M6Courts Act 1971 (deputy High Court and Circuit judges) there shall be substituted—
(1)If it appears to the Lord Chancellor that it is expedient as a temporary measure to make an appointment under this section in order to facilitate the disposal of business in the Crown Court or a county court or official referees’ business in the High Court, he may—
(a)appoint to be a deputy Circuit judge, during such period or on such occasions as he thinks fit, any person who has held office as a judge of the Court of Appeal or of the High Court or as a Circuit judge; or
(b)appoint to be an assistant Recorder, during such period or on such occasions as he thinks fit, any barrister or solicitor of at least ten years’ standing.
(2)Except as provided by subsection (3) below, during the period or on the occasions for which a deputy Circuit judge or assistant Recorder is appointed under this section he shall be treated for all purposes as, and accordingly may perform any of the functions of, a Circuit judge or a Recorder, as the case may be.
(3)A deputy Circuit judge appointed under this section shall not be treated as a Circuit judge for the purpose of any provision made by or under any enactment and relating to the appointment, retirement, removal or disqualification of Circuit judges, the tenure of office and oaths to be taken by such judges, or the remuneration, allowances or pensions of such judges; and section 21 of this Act shall not apply to an assistant Recorder appointed under this section.
(4)Notwithstanding the expiry of any period for which a person is appointed under this section a deputy Circuit judge or an assistant Recorder, he may attend at the Crown Court or a county court or, as regards any official referees’ business, at the High Court for the purpose of continuing to deal with, giving judgment in, or dealing with any ancillary matter relating to, any case which may have been begun before him when sitting as a deputy Circuit judge or an assistant Recorder, and for that purpose and for the purpose of any proceedings subsequent thereon he shall be treated as a Circuit judge or a Recorder, as the case may be.
(5)There shall be paid out of money provided by Parliament to deputy Circuit judges and assistant Recorders appointed under this section such remuneration and allowances as the Lord Chancellor may, with the approval of the Minister for the Civil Service, determine.”.
“(3)An appeal shall lie to the Court of Appeal from any order made against a solicitor by the High Court or the Crown Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction in respect of solicitors under subsection (2).”.
(1)Her Majesty may by Order in Council—
(a)direct that any of the provisions of sections 20 to 24 specified in the Order shall extend, with such exceptions, adaptations and modifications as may be so specified, to any of the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man; or
(b)make, for any of the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man, provision for any purposes corresponding to the purposes of any of the provisions of those sections.
(2)Her Majesty may by order in Council direct, either generally or in relation to particular courts or territories, that the M8Colonial Courts of Admiralty Act 1890 shall have effect as if for the reference in section 2(2) of that Act to the Admiralty jurisdiction of the High Court in England there were substituted a reference to the Admiralty jurisdiction of that court as defined by section 20 of this Act, subject, however to such adaptations and modifications of section 20 as may be specified in the Order.
(3)Her Majesty may by Order in Council direct that any of the provisions of sections 21 to 24 shall extend, with such exceptions, adaptations and modifications as may be specified in the Order, to any colony or to any country outside Her Majesty’s dominions in which Her Majesty has jurisdiction in right of the government of the United Kingdom.
(4)Subsections (1) and (3) shall each have effect as if the provisions there mentioned included section 2(2) of the M9Hovercraft Act 1968 (application of the law relating to maritime liens in relation to hovercraft and property connected with them).
(1)In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“action” means any civil proceedings commenced by writ or in any other manner prescribed by rules of court;
“appeal”, in the context of appeals to the civil division of the Court of Appeal, includes—
an application for a new trial, and
an application to set aside a verdict, finding or judgment in any cause or matter in the High Court which has been tried, or in which any issue has been tried, by a jury;
“cause” means any action or any criminal proceedings;
“Division”, where it appears with a capital letter, means a division of the High Court;
“judgment” includes a decree;
“jurisdiction” includes powers;
“matter” means any proceedings in court not in a cause;
“party”, in relation to any proceedings, includes any person who pursuant to or by virtue of rules of court or any other statutory provision has been served with notice of, or has intervened in, those proceedings;
[F29“senior judge”, where the reference is to the senior judge of a Division, means the president of that Division;]
“solicitor” means a solicitor of the [F30Senior Courts];
“statutory provision” means any enactment, whenever passed, or any provision contained in subordinate legislation (as defined 0 in section 21(1) of the M10Interpretation Act 1978), whenever made;
“this or any other Act” includes an Act passed after this Act.
(2)Section 128 contains definitions of expressions used in Part V and in the other provisions of this Act relating to probate causes and matters.
(3)Any reference in this Act to rules of court under section 84 includes a reference to rules of court under any provision of this or any other Act which confers on the [F31Civil Procedure Rule Committee] or the Crown Court Rule Committee power to make rules of court [F32in relation to the [F30Senior Courts]].
(4)Except where the context otherwise requires, in this or any other Act—
F33. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
F34. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“divisional court” (with or without capital letters) means a divisional court constituted under section 66;
“judge of the [F30Senior Courts]” means—
a judge of the Court of Appeal other than an ex-officio judge within paragraph (b) or (c) of section 2(2), or
a judge of the High Court,
and accordingly does not include, as such, a judge of the Crown Court;
“official referees’ business” has the meaning given by section 68(6);
(5)The provisions of Schedule 4 (construction of references to superseded courts and officers) shall have effect.
X5(1)The enactments specified in Schedule 5 shall have effect subject to the amendments there specified, being amendments consequential on the provisions of this Act.
(2)F36. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(3)This Act shall have effect subject to the transitional provisions and savings contained in Schedule 6.
X5(4)The enactments mentioned in Schedule 7 (which include certain obsolete or unnecessary provisions) are hereby repealed to the extent specified in the third column of that Schedule.
(5)F37. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(1)This Act may be cited as the [F38Senior Courts] Act 1981.
(2)This Act, except the provisions mentioned in subsection (3), shall come into force on 1st January 1982; and references to the commencement of this Act shall be construed as references to the beginning of that day.
(3)Sections 72, 143 and 152(2) and this section shall come into force on the passing of this Act.
(4)In this Act—
(a)the following provisions extend to Scotland, namely—
section 152(4) and Schedule 7, so far as they relate to the M11Admiralty Court Act 1861;
(b)the following provisions extend to Northern Ireland so far as they relate to the M12Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975, namely—
section 152(1) and Schedule 5;
section 152(3) and paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 6;
(c)the following provisions extend to Scotland and Northern Ireland, namely—
sections 132 and 134(3);
section 152(1) and Schedule 5, so far as they amend—
section 152(3) and paragraph 3(1) of Schedule 6, so far as they relate to the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975;
section 152(4) and Schedule 7, so far as they relate to—
(d)section 145 extends to any place to which the M19Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968 extends, and section 152(1) and (4) and Schedules 5 and 7, so far as they relate to any of the following enactments, namely—
M20Army Act 1955,
M21Air Force Act 1955,
section 9(2) of, and Part II of Schedule 1 to, the M22Criminal Appeal Act 1966,
Courts-Martial (Appeals) Act 1968,
M23Hovercraft Act 1968,
F39. . .
extend to any place to which that enactment extends;
but, save as aforesaid, the provisions of this Act, other than those mentioned in subsection (5), extend to England and Wales only.
(5)The provisions of this Act whose extent is not restricted by subsection (4) are—
paragraph 1 of Schedule 4.
The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download. You may also experience some issues with your browser, such as an alert box that a script is taking a long time to run.
Would you like to continue?
The Whole Act you have selected contains over 200 provisions and might take some time to download.
Would you like to continue?
Would you like to continue?
Latest Available (revised):The latest available updated version of the legislation incorporating changes made by subsequent legislation and applied by our editorial team. Changes we have not yet applied to the text, can be found in the ‘Changes to Legislation’ area.
Original (As Enacted or Made):The original version of the legislation as it stood when it was enacted or made. No changes have been applied to the text.
Geographical Extent: Indicates the geographical area that this provision applies to. For further information see ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
Show Timeline of Changes: See how this legislation has or could change over time. Turning this feature on will show extra navigation options to go to these specific points in time. Return to the latest available version by using the controls above in the What Version box.
Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:
Use this menu to access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:
Click 'View More' or select 'More Resources' tab for additional information including: