Chancery Division

27 May 2010, Revised 15 May 2017

The Chancery Division is one of the three Divisions of the High Court of Justice. The Court is headed by the Chancellor (formerly known as the Vice-Chancellor) who sits with 18 other High Court judges. Except for the Patents Court where masters have a limited role and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court ("IPEC") where there are district judges, procedural matters are dealt with by 6 masters.
S.61 (1) and paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 distributes the following work to the Chancery Division:
"(a) the sale, exchange or partition of land, or the raising of charges on land;
(b) the redemption or foreclosure of mortgages;
(c) the execution of trusts;
(d) the administration of the estates of deceased persons;
(e) bankruptcy;
(f) the dissolution of partnerships or the taking of partnership or other accounts;
(g) the rectification, setting aside or cancellation of deeds or other instruments in writing;
(h) probate busine"ss, other than non-contentious or common form business;
(i) patents, trade marks, registered designs, copyright or design right;
(j) the appointment of a guardian of a minor’s estate,
and all causes and matters involving the exercise of the High Court’s jurisdiction under the enactments relating to companies. "

Patents, registered and registered Community designs, semiconductor topography and plant variety cases are listed before the Patents Court or IPEC. All other intellectual property claims are marked “Intellectual Property” and may be brought before any judge of the Chancery Division,
Chancery business can be conducted in London and in the Birmingham, Bristol, Caernarfon, Cardiff, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Mold, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Preston District Registries. The functions that are performed by Masters in London are performed by District Judges in those District Registries. High Court Judges and Circuit Judges sitting as Judges of the High Court sit regularly in Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff and in other courts by special arrangement.
Further information on chancery practice can be obtained from the Chancery Guide.


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