Admiralty, Commercial and London Mercantile court

These pages contain information about the work of the Admiralty, Commercial and London Mercantile court.

Each court is individual and governed by its own part within the Civil Procedure Rules.

Notes and guidance about each court are also available.

Commercial Court

The Commercial Court deals with complex cases arising out of business disputes, both national and international. There is particular emphasis on:

  • international trade

  • banking

  • commodity

  • arbitration disputes

The work of the Commercial Court is governed by Part 58 of the Civil Procedure Rules

The Admiralty and Commercial Courts Guide (PDF 0.65mb) sets out detailed information on how litigation is conducted in the Admiralty and Commercial Courts.

The guide is regularly updated to reflect rule changes and suggestions for improvement from users. The 2011 edition has been updated three times, in October 2011, March 2012 and March 2013. Read the summary of changes.

Suggestions for changes to the guide from users are welcomed and can be made to the Clerk to the Commercial Court 

Cases from 22 April 2014

Costs Budgeting

CPR Part 3.12 is amended with effect from 22 April 2014. The effect of the amended rule and the transitional provisions is that the Costs Management section of CPR Part 3 and PD3E will apply to all Admiralty and Commercial Court claims commenced on after 22 April 2014. 

The exceptions are where the claim is stated or valued at £10 million or more (3.12(1)(a) and (b)) or where the court otherwise orders (3.12(1)(c)). Save in such cases the parties will be required to file and exchange costs budgets in accordance with rules 3.12 and 3.13 – see section D2.23 of the Admiralty and Commercial Courts Guide.  Under the transitional provisions the prior version of CPR 3.12, and therefore the Admiralty and Commercial Court exemption from costs budgeting, continues to apply to claims commenced prior to 22 April 2014.

Factual Matrix

The Admiralty and Commercial Courts Guide has been amended to require features of the factual matrix relied upon by a party to be pleaded and agreements/disagreements as to the relevant features addressed in the List of Issues - see section C1.2(h)2.1(c) and D6.1. 


It is reiterated that permission should be sought for any pleading of more than 25 pages in length.  Permission for such longer pleadings will only be granted  exceptionally and subject to a requirement to serve a summary of the pleading – see section C1.1(b).

Witness statements

Permission will be needed for witness statements of more than 30 pages in length.  Orders for permission should be sought at the case management conference – see section H.1.1(viii).

Cases from 1 April 2014

Mr Justice Field, Judge in Charge of the Commercial List, has issued the following direction in relation to all cases issued or transferred into the Commercial Court from 1 April 2014:

All practitioners should note and comply with section B.4(b) of the Admiralty and Commercial Courts Guide namely that:

'Within 7 days of issuing a Claim Form or when a case has been transferred into the Commercial Court, the receiving of the new claim number, the claimant(s) should complete an electronic Claim Information Form ('CIF') and file the same electronically to the following email address'

The form may be found on Formfinder.

The important purpose of this form is to collect statistics concerning the work done so as to help promote the efficient conduct of business in the Commercial Court.

Admiralty Court

The Admiralty Court deals with shipping and maritime disputes, such as:

  • collision
  • salvage
  • carriage of cargo
  • limitation
  • mortgage disputes

The Court has an in rem procedure (a claim relating to a ship itself). It can arrest vessels and cargoes and sell them within the jurisdiction of England and Wales.

The work of the Admiralty Court is governed by Part 61 of the Civil Procedure Rules

London Mercantile Court

The London Mercantile Court deals with business disputes, both national and international. It is designed to deal with claims of lesser value and complexity than the Commercial Court.

The Mercantile Court also sits at the following locations:

Liverpool and Manchester

The work of the London Mercantile Court is governed by Part 59 of the Civil Procedure Rules

Mercantile Court Guide

The Mercantile Court Guide sets out detailed information on how litigation is conducted in the Mercantile Courts. The Guide is regularly updated to reflect rule changes and suggestions for improvement from users


In order to provide efficient service, all three courts are administered by one court office, located at:

Ground Floor
7 Rolls Building
Fetter Lane

Listing Office - Ground Floor

  • Fixing hearings and trials before Judges.

  • Lodging Case Management Bundles, and other papers/bundles for hearings and trials before Judges.

  • Updating Case Management Bundles and Hearing Bundles.

  • Doing searches in the Register of Claims

  • Lodging progress monitoring sheets, ADR reports and related correspondence.

  • Lodging applications for and notifications of extensions of time and variations to timetables by letter

Registry - Ground Floor

  • Issuing Claim Forms and applications.

  • Issuing Warrants of Arrest for the arrest of vessels and lodging cautions against arrest or release.

  • Entering default judgments.

  • Lodging all other documents for filing.

  • Lodging without notice applications, consent orders and draft orders for approval of judiciary, and collecting thereafter.

  • Getting copies of approved orders sealed.

  • Requesting certificates for use abroad. Inspection of documents and photocopying requests.

  • Fixing hearings before Master Kay (the Admiralty Registrar) in Admiralty or Commercial cases unless the estimate is more than one day in which case apply to the Master himself.

  • Lodging bundles for hearings before Master Kay. Paying setting down fees.

Rolls Commercial Registry

  • Lodging payment schedules for payment out of funds in Court (Form200s).

HM Courts & Tribunals Service


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