General right of transfer

October 2007

7.2 General

In England and Wales court business is allocated by statute, by order and by certain rules between the High Court and county courts and between the divisions of the High Court.  The courts in England and Wales have retained a general right to transfer proceedings between themselves in order to rectify the situation where proceedings have been commenced in the wrong court or to ensure that proceedings are dealt with in the most suitable forum [note 1].


7.3 Transfers by and to the High Court

The High Court has the jurisdiction to transfer to a county court  [note 2] any proceedings which it is satisfied ought to have commenced in a county court by virtue of any enactment.  The High Court can also transfer to the High Court any case commenced in or previously transferred to a county court [note 3].  The county court may also transfer proceedings before it to the High Court if it is satisfied that those proceedings ought to be heard in the High Court [note 4].  All of these powers may be exercised by the relevant courts either of their own motion or on the application of a party to the proceedings.


7.4 Transfers between county courts

A county court may order proceedings before that court, or any part of them, to be transferred to another county court if it is satisfied that an order should be made with regards to:

  • The financial value of the claim and the amount in dispute, if different;
  • Whether it would be more convenient or fair for hearings (including the trial) to be held in some other court;
  • The availability of a judge specialising in the type of claim in question;
  • Whether the facts, legal issues, remedies or procedures involved are simple or complex;
  • The importance of the claim to the public in general;
  • The facilities available at the court where the claim is being dealt with and whether they may be inadequate because of any disabilities of a party or potential witness;
  • Whether the making of a declaration of incompatibility under section 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 has arisen or may arise;
  • In the case of civil proceedings against the Crown, as defined in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 rule 66.1(2), the location of the relevant government department or officers of the Crown and, where appropriate, any relevant public interest that the matter should be tried in London.

[note 5]


7.5 Transfer between divisions of the High Court

The High Court may order proceedings in any Division of the High Court be transferred to another Division [note 6].


7.6 Procedure on transfer

The court from which the proceedings are transferred must give notice of the transfer to all the parties [note 7]. The notice will contain details of the name and number of the case [note 8].


Any order made before the transfer of the proceedings is not affected by the order to transfer [note 9].


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