Effective 1 June, we have a new address: 34 Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL50 1QZ
Get in Touch Menu

Change to county court procedures

06 March 2012

County court procedures are changing. From 19 March, most county court claims will have to be sent to the new National Civil Business Centre (NCBC).

This is merely an administrative centre. They will deal with paperwork concerning issue and service of claims, and later entry of default judgments, covering most damages and/or money claims.

Claims will be treated as issued in the Northampton County Court. In practice, litigants will not usually need to travel to Northampton. Cases will be automatically transferred to the defendant’s local court or the claimant’s chosen ‘preferred court’.

Transfer to defendant’s local court

Claims will continue to be transferred automatically to the defendant’s local court where:

  • the claim is not a specialist claim
  • the claim is for a specific sum (typically debt claims)
  • the defendant is a private individual.

Transfer to claimant’s preferred court

Claimants lose the ability to select the court they issue in, but they may nominate a ‘preferred court’. If the case is not automatically transferred to the defendant’s local court, it may be transferred to the preferred court.

Possible transfer away from defendant’s local court or preferred court

The intention is to change procedures as little as possible. Parties will still be able to apply to transfer their case elsewhere or the court may do so, therefore preferred courts should be selected with care. Considerations for transferring cases to other county courts (or indeed to the high court) include:

  • the value of the claim
  • whether it would be more convenient or fair to transfer
  • whether specialist judges are available
  • the complexity of facts, remedies or procedures
  • court facilities.

The changes are part of a drive to streamline the administration of justice. There have been significant cutbacks in county court staff and those remaining are learning to operate a new system. Court delays are therefore possible.

Our litigation team will do everything possible to minimise the inconvenience of court procedures but you should be aware of potential delays while the new system beds down. You should let your legal team know if you have strong preferences as to where hearings take place.

As always, if you need commercial and pragmatic legal advice, we’re here to help so please get in touch.

Contact us

Nick Cox LLB (Hons)
Consultant, solicitor
View profile
Nick Cox
Related services
Share this article
Resources to help

Related articles

Landlords are off the hook rules tenancy case

Litigation & dispute resolution

A 2021 Court of Appeal decision suggests that landlords are off the hook if they failed to serve the energy performance certificate (EPC) or gas safety certificate (GSC) for an…

James Melvin-Bath LLB (Hons)
Associate, solicitor-advocate

The higher cost of proceeding to trial

Litigation & dispute resolution

Our litigation & dispute resolution partner outlines some of the commercial risks involved in proceeding to trial in an intellectual property infringement case. In trademark infringement and passing off cases,…

Paul Gordon LLB

Webinar: Spring commercial property law update

Litigation & dispute resolution

In this Spring update our experienced partners in commercial property and property litigation will share insight on several topics. The first is a look at development land and will include…

Contact us