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Legal Announcements

HH Charles Purle QC, DJ Debora O’Regan

It is with great sadness that the Committee and members of the MCCBA have learned of the deaths of His Honour Charles Purle QC and of District Judge Debora O’Regan.

His Honour Charles Purle QC recently retired as a Senior Circuit Judge and Specialist Chancery Judge, having been appointed in 2007. Called to the Bar in 1970, he took silk in 1989, was Head of New Square Chambers from 2003 to 2007 and was Chairman of the Chancery Bar Association from 2004 to 2007. Although due to have retired in early 2017, he extended his service to assist with ensuring local judicial cover for Chancery matters, and was thus able to complete his career as one of the first judges to sit in the newly-established Business and Property Courts at Birmingham.

District Judge Debora O’Regan was admitted to the roll in 1985 and was appointed a Deputy District Judge in May 1993 and a District Judge in June 1998, and served on the International Committee of the Judicial College.

HH Charles Purle QC’s funeral will take place at St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham, on Monday 4th June 2018 at 2.30 pm.

Forthcoming Events – December and January

Welcome to HHJ Sarah Watson

Tuesday 5 December, 4.15pm — Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, 6th Floor

Judge Watson is now in post as our new TCC judge. Please join your colleagues to welcome our latest s.9 judge to the fold. No robes required. Followed by:

Business & Property Courts Users’ Meeting

Tuesday 5 December, 4.45pm — Birmingham Civil Justice Centre, 6th Floor

Please do attend in good numbers to support the local courts and voice any concerns that you have about the service provided.

Valedictory for HHJ Charles Purle QC

Wednesday 10th January, Time TBC — Birmingham Civil Justice Centre

Details to follow nearer the time.


Business and Property Courts in Birmingham – Launch Reception

Following the official opening today of the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, this evening saw Birmingham Civil Justice Centre host senior members of the judiciary, local dignitaries and judges, and members of the legal profession to a reception to mark this new era for the Birmingham courts. Guests heard from Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, Sir Geoffrey Vos, Mr Justice Coulson, Mr Justice Newey and Sir Brian Leveson, all of whom have been deeply involved in setting up the new Business and Property Courts and establishing them in Birmingham. A small selection of the many who attended are pictured below.

(Pictures © S Bradshaw,  S Carr and MCCBA, taken with the kind permission of HMCTS.)

Introducing the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham

Today marks the formal opening of the Business and Property Courts in Birmingham. To explain the new courts, a helpful introductory guide has been produced that features the following:

  • Foreword by Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, Mrs Justice Carr and Mr Justice Newey
  • Explanation of the Business and Property Courts by Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, and Sir Brian Leveson, President of the Queen’s Bench Division
  • The Significance of the new Business and Property Courts – a view by Ed Pepperall QC
  • Judicial Profiles
  • Court Contact Details

Business and Property Courts in Birmingham (PDF, 3MB)

MCCBA leads a consortium of sponsors to launch the new Courts

The MCCBA is the lead sponsor for the champagne reception to mark the launch of the new Business & Property Courts in Birmingham. It has joined forces with the national specialist bar associations, COMBAR, the Chancery Bar Association and TECBAR. In addition, it is working closely with fellow sponsor Lexis-Nexis to publish a magazine on 6 July to mark the launch of the new courts in Birmingham.

Additional, very generous support has been given to this event by the High Sheriffs of the West Midlands, John Hudson OBE DL (2017/8) and Keith Bradshaw DL (2016/7) and by the Property Litigation Association.

Ed Pepperall QC, Chairman of the MCCBA, said: “The Association is delighted to be working with all of our fellow sponsors. We are particularly pleased to see the support so willingly given to regional specialist practice by the national specialist bar associations. Thanks also to Lexis-Nexis for deploying its professional publishing capability to support this event and to our other co-sponsors for their support. I look forward to a successful launch event and to the success of these new courts.”

The new Commercial Circuit Courts

It has now been confirmed that the Mercantile Courts are in for a makeover. The Victorian adjective goes as the courts are renamed the Commercial Circuit Courts. The name change is part of the reorganisation of the specialist courts in the wake of next month’s launch of the Business and Property Courts. The name is intended to be more intelligible. It appears to underline the close connections with London’s Commercial Court, while perhaps making only too clear that it is the junior partner. On the formal launch of the new court structure, Judge Worster will become the city’s first Commercial Circuit Judge. The MCCBA understands that Part 59 of the rules will be amended simply to effect the name change.

The Business and Property Courts in Birmingham

The Business and Property Courts in Birmingham will be formally opened by the Lord Chief Justice, the Rt Hon. Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, at 2.30pm on Thursday, 6th July 2017.

These new courts will combine the strengths of the Chancery Division in Birmingham with the specialist courts of the Queen’s Bench Division, Technology and Construction (TCC) and Mercantile, and will introduce flexible listing and modern procedures. . The courts will aim to meet three objectives:

  • ensuring that each case is managed to deliver progress to trial without delay;
  • trial by the most appropriate judge (whether a member of the resident specialist judiciary or a High Court Judge); and
  • the provision of an efficient and effective service utilising modern technology to best advantage.

This innovation has been the result of the combined efforts of the HMCTS Birmingham, Regional and High Court teams and the local specialist judges and the Circuit and District Bench. The Midlands Chancery and Commercial Bar Association is very pleased to have been able to lend it support to the creation of the new Courts.

The Chancellor of the High Court and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division have prepared an explanatory statement regarding the new Business and Property Courts.


HHJ Worster_1000wd
Birmingham has a new Mercantile Judge

The Birmingham legal community today welcomed His Honour Judge David Worster as the city’s new Mercantile judge. Judge Worster inherits a court that has been in the doldrums but is well placed to rebuild the jurisdiction. Called in 1980, David Worster practised at 7 Fountain Court and later St Philips Chambers until his appointment to the circuit bench in 2008.

Commenting on his appointment, MCCBA Chairman, Ed Pepperall QC, said “Judge Worster regularly practised in Mercantile work at the Bar and will be known to many in Birmingham’s legal community as a very effective commercial barrister. Since his appointment to the bench, he has proved himself to be a fair and user-friendly judge who has earned the trust and respect of the legal community. He is ideally placed to resurrect the fortunes of the Birmingham Mercantile Court.”