Welcome for launch of new business court

Leeds Combined Court. (TJ1002/21a). Picture by Tony JohnsonLeeds Combined Court. (TJ1002/21a). Picture by Tony Johnson
Leeds Combined Court. (TJ1002/21a). Picture by Tony Johnson
A new court to modernise the way business and property cases are heard will open for business in Leeds later this year.

The Leeds Business and Property Court, which will be based at the Leeds Combined Court Centre on Oxford Row, is one of five regional centres being opened around the country.

A launch event for the specialist civil court, covering areas including commerce, construction, engineering, technology, financial services, competition and insolvency, was held in the city last night.

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It comes after a merger of the Commercial Court, the Technology and Construction Court, and the Courts of the Chancery Division.

Officials say the new arrangements will preserve the familiar practices and procedures of these courts, whilst allowing for more flexible deployment of judges with suitable expertise and experience.

Ahead of the opening in October, solicitors, barristers and court users from the business community joined members of the judiciary and the Court Service last night to hear from the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Geoffrey Vos, about how the new court will operate.

Sir Geoffrey said: “I am delighted about the enthusiasm, even excitement that the launch of the Business & Property Courts has generated amongst the legal community and business users generally, both in the regions and in Leeds.

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“When the Business & Property Courts go live on October 2, 2017, the specialist jurisdictions of our courts will all be using names that national and international business people can readily understand.

“The judges of the Business & Property Courts are high-calibre, forward-looking people, who understand the importance of providing a state-of-the-art service to court users.”

Leeds Law Society, which represents solicitors in the city, and helped organise and promote the event, has welcomed the new court.

Sue Harris, chairwoman of the Leeds Law Society’s Court Liaison Group, said: “I am delighted that solicitors, other practitioners and court users from the region’s business community have had a chance to find out more about the introduction of the new Business and Property Court.

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“Leeds is a very important legal centre and the changes promise to enhance the connection between the work undertaken in this region and London.

“This development is welcome as it builds on the commitment from the judiciary, Court Service and practitioners in Leeds, to ensure that first-rate access to justice continues to be available for businesses and other court users in our region.”

In addition to Leeds, Business and Property Courts are being launched in Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol and Cardiff.

The new court was formally launched at a special reception at BPP University in Leeds yesterday evening.

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Leeds Law Society and Leeds City Council joined forces last month to profile and promote the city’s legal sector to international business and talent.

Nearly 200 lawyers from the city’s law firms attended the event at Leeds Civic Hall.

Research unveiled at the Leeds Conference showed that the city has seen the strongest growth in the number of new jobs and law firms of any major UK legal centre this decade, surpassing the City of London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.

The research also showed that the sector will generate estimated economic output of £300m in 2017.

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Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Leeds has been delighted to host this prestigious conference, and showcase our thriving legal sector.

“Leeds is the fastest growing legal hub in the UK, and the city has real strength and depth in terms of our legal offer.

“We very much welcome the commitment of the legal sector to Leeds, and the ongoing contribution they make to our city.”

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