Circuit Commercial Courts

Who we are

The Circuit Commercial Courts are specialist courts that are part of the Business and Property Courts. They enable business disputes brought anywhere in the country to be tried by judges with specialist commercial law expertise.

The Circuit Commercial Courts hear a wide range of commercial and business disputes. They are closely associated with the Commercial Court, upon which their practice is based.

There are Circuit Commercial Courts established within the District Registries of the High Court at Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne. There is also a London Circuit Commercial Court, established within the Commercial Court.

Each court is led by a Judge in Charge, who is a specialist senior Circuit Judge selected for their knowledge and experience of commercial law and practice. They are supported by other judges and fee-paid deputy High Court Judges authorised to sit in the Circuit Commercial Courts. The latter are not full-time judges but are experienced senior practitioners (often KCs) with predominantly commercial practices.

What we do

The Circuit Commercial Courts enable commercial disputes to be determined locally, more quickly and economically than elsewhere.

A claim may be started in (or transferred to) a Circuit Commercial Court if:

  • it concerns a dispute that would be suitable for the Commercial Court but for its financial value and/or the nature of the factual technical or legal issues that arise; and/or
  • its value merits trial in the High Court and the factual technical or legal issues that arise require, or would benefit from, resolution by a Circuit Commercial Judge.

Like the Commercial Court, cases in the Circuit Commercial Court are case managed and tried by a senior judge. Cases will usually be managed from start to finish by the Court’s Judge in Charge. All case management and trial is done either by that judge or another Circuit Judge or Deputy High Court Judge. This promotes efficient case and costs management.

Cases of particularly high value or complexity which are issued in the Circuit Commercial Court can be assigned to be heard locally by a Commercial Court Judge.

Find out more

The individual Circuit Commercial Courts:

The Circuit Commercial Court Guide (PDF). This sets out the Circuit Commercial Courts’ practice and procedure. It is drafted in every day language and contains detailed guidance as to how cases in the Circuit Commercial Court are managed and tried.

The Commercial Court Guide (PDF). This sets out the procedures which apply in the Commercial Court and form the basis for the Circuit Commercial Courts’ practices.

Part 59 (Civil Procedure Rules (external link)) of the Civil Procedure Rules and Practice Direction 59, Proceedings in the Circuit Commercial Courts are governed by this part of the CPR.