A civil court consisting of three divisions: the Queen’s Bench, which deals with civil disputes including breach of contract, personal injuries, commercial and building cases, libel or slander; Family, which is concerned with matrimonial matters and proceedings relating to children or adults who cannot make decisions for themselves; and Chancery, which deals with property matters including fraud and bankruptcy. Mr/Mrs Justice is the correct form of address for a High Court judge.
High Court – Chancery Division (HC CD)
The Chancery Division of the High Court is presided over by The Chancellor and around 20 High Court judges. There is some overlap with the Queen’s Bench Division, however certain matters are specifically assigned to the Chancery Division. The principal business of judges who sit in the Chancery Division is corporate and personal insolvency disputes, business, trade and industry disputes, the enforcement of mortgages, intellectual property matters, copyright and patents, disputes relating to trust property and contentious probate actions.
High Court – Family Division (HC FD)
Judges who sit in the Family Division of the High Court have jurisdiction to hear the most complex cases relating to children, and exercises an exclusive jurisdiction in wardship. Judges in the High Court also hear appeals from family proceedings courts and cases transferred from the county courts or family proceedings courts.
High Court – Queen’s Bench Division (HC QBD)
The Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court has both a criminal and civil jurisdiction. Judges who sit in the civil jurisdiction deal with ‘common law’ business i.e. actions relating to contract except those specifically allocated to the Chancery Division, and civil wrongs (known as tort). They also hear more specialist matters, such as applications for judicial review. Judges hearing the criminal cases of the QBD also deal at first instance with the more serious criminal cases heard in the Crown Court and, relatively early in their careers can be appointed to hear serious criminal matters in Crown Court centres out of London (known as being “on circuit”) . Examples of contract cases dealt with by Queen’s Bench Division judges are failure to pay for goods and service and breach of contract.