Work of the Chancery Division
The work of the Chancery Division is divided up between several specialist lists, sub-lists and courts:
- The Business List
- The Financial List
- The Competition List
- The Insolvency and Companies List
- The Intellectual Property List
- The Property Trusts and Probate List
- The Revenue List
Information regarding each of these lists is outlined in this section of the website. Further information about the Court Lists of the Chancery Division can be found in the Chancery Guide (PDF) at Appendix F.
The Business List
The scope of the Chancery Business List is broad. It includes a wide range of national and international business disputes concerning a business structure (company, LLP, LP, partnership etc), sale and purchase of businesses, claims for professional negligence, claims for breach of contract and rectification as well as other equitable remedies. If a claim does not fall within any other list or sub-list it should be issued in the Business List.
The Business List has two sub-lists:
• The Financial Services and Regulatory List (FS): Financial claims where the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is a party, claims under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and claims involving regulators (other than the Pensions Regulator).
• The Pensions List (PE): This List covers all claims where pensions are the subject matter of the dispute and includes claims relating to pensions, trusts and claims unrelated to trusts law, such as claims for professional negligence against former advisers. Claims arising from actions taken under statutory powers, such as those of the Pensions Regulator, also come within this List, as do Pensions Ombudsman appeals.
The Financial List
The Financial List is a specialist cross-jurisdictional list set up to address the particular business needs of parties litigating on financial matters. Disputes that are eligible for inclusion are those that principally relate to financial disputes of over £50m or equivalent, or which require particular market expertise, or raise issues of general market importance.
The Competition List
This list deals with claims previously brought under Article 101 and Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (‘TFEU’) and claims brought under the corresponding provisions of UK domestic law contained in Chapters I and II of Part 1 of the Competition Act 1998. This includes cases that prevent, restrict or distort competition and includes cases dealing with abuse of dominant position, the imposition of unfair prices, unfair trading arrangements and breaches of competition rules.
The Insolvency and Companies List
The Insolvency and Companies List comprises two sub-lists:
• Insolvency List: Insolvency work includes bankruptcy petitions where a creditor is owed £50,000 or more, insolvency administration orders, winding up petitions, and applications and claims relating to individual and corporate insolvency under the Insolvency Act 1986, the Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2016 and related legislation.
• Companies List: Companies work includes claims and applications made under the Companies Act 2006 and related legislation, including unfair prejudice petitions and other forms of shareholder dispute. Claims and applications made under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 are also included in this list.
The Intellectual Property List
Claims in the Intellectual Property List include those brought under the Trade Marks Act 1994, copyright issues, passing off, and other intellectual property claims. Large or complex intellectual property claims or patent claims valued over £500,000 are heard in the Intellectual Property List or Patents Court (HP). Lower value simpler intellectual property claims (including patents) are issued and heard in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) (IP). The Presiding Judge of the IPEC is His Honour Judge Hacon. The separate IPEC Guide applicable to cases (external link) in the IPEC can be found online. The separate IPEC webpage can also be found online.
The Property Trusts and Probate List
This list covers a large amount of the work of the Chancery Division. It is separate from the Business List. The property work includes all disputes about land ownership or development, commercial mortgages and leases, receivership, orders for sale to enforce charging orders and resulting and constructive trusts. The trusts work includes removal of trustees, claims against trustees, issues of construction/rectification, disputes concerning trust property and applications for approval or administration orders. The probate work includes contentious probate claims, rectification of wills, substitution or removal of Personal Representatives and cases involving the Presumption of Death Act 2013 and the Guardianship (Missing Persons) Act 2017.
The Revenue List
This List covers claims involving major points of principle where HMRC is a party. This List does not include claims for the recovery of taxes or duties or where a taxpayer disputes liability to pay tax; such claims generally fall within the jurisdiction of the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber), or otherwise within the Business List.
The Chancery, along with the other courts of the Business and Property Courts, continues to be at the forefront of developing commercial litigation including a range of disputes involving digital assets and digitalised transaction documents, including disputes relating to smart contracts, crypto currency, NFTs and intellectual property rights in digital assets.