|Manchester Civil Justice Centre|
11 July 2017
Unlike other regions of England and Wales, there has always been a Chancery Court in North West England and a number of locally based barristers and solicitors to practise in it. Until its merger with the Chancery Division in 1972, there was a Court of Chancery for the County Palatine of Lancaster which sat in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston with the same jurisdiction as the High Court in London including patents and registered designs. Immediately after the merger patents and designs cases from the North West were listed before judges in London specifically designated by the Lord Chancellor under s.84 (1) of the Patent Act 1949 but other types of IP cases could and did proceed in the North West before circuit judges appointed to hear chancery cases in the region. The jurisdiction to hear patent and registered designs cases in the region was lost altogether when s.96 (1) of the Patents Act 1977 established the Patents Court.
The present position is that claims relating to intellectual property other than those involving patents, registered and registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies and plant breeders’ rights may be issued out of and proceed in the High Court and County Court at Liverpool or Manchester and all IP claims except those reserved issues and trade marks may be issued out of and proceed in the High Court and County Court at Preston. Claims relating to patents, registered and registered Community designs, semiconductor topographies and plant breeders’ rights have to be issued out of the Patents Court or the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (“IPEC”) in London but the judges of the Patents Court and IPEC are able and willing to sit outside London at the request of the parties to save time and costs (see paragraph 4 of the Patents Court Guide and paragraph 1.5 of the IPEC Guide).
Chancery business in North West England is supervised by Mr Justice Barling who holds the title of Vice-Chancellor the County Palatine of Lancaster. The Vice-Chancellor is assisted Circuit Judges Pelling, Hodge and Bird and District Judges Khan, Obodai, Bever, Matharu and Richmond in Manchester, Judge Hodge and District Judges Sykes, Wright and Benson in Liverpool and District Judges Anson, Burrows and Knifton in Preston. The Commercial Circuit and Technology and Construction Court Judges in Manchester and Liverpool also hear chancery cases.
Chancery practice in the North West differs from that of London in that district judges in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston perform the roles of masters in London and applications to judges for interim injunctions and other interlocutory relief are made on designated interim applications or motion days which take place in Manchester and Liverpool.
Sir Geoffrey Vos and Sir Brian Leveson
HM Courts and Tribunal Service
Contact Jane Lambert
Tel 020 7404 5252