Queen's Bench Division

The Queen's Bench Division is one of the three divisions of the High Court together with the Chancery Division and Family Division. Sir John Thomas is President of the Queen's Bench Division, and certain High Court Judges and Masters are assigned to it. Lady Justice Hallett has been appointed by the Lord Chief Justice to be the Vice-President of the Division; a High Court Judge is appointed as Judge in charge of the Jury List; another is appointed as Judge in charge of the Trial List.

Outside London, the work of the Queen's Bench Division is administered in provincial offices known as District Registries. In London, the work is administered in the Central Office at the Royal Courts of Justice. The work in the Central Office of the Queen's Bench Division is the responsibility of the Senior Master, acting under the authority of the President of the Queen's Bench Division.

The work of the Queen's Bench Division, not including the specialist courts, consists mainly of claims for damages in respect of:

  • personal injury
  • negligence
  • breach of contract,
  • libel and slander (defamation)
  • non-payment of a debt, and
  • possession of land or property.

Proceedings retained to be dealt with in the Central Office of the Queen's Bench Division will almost invariably be multi-track claims.

In many types of claim - for example claims in respect of negligence by solicitors, accountants, etc. or claims for possession of land - the claimant has a choice whether to bring the claim in the Queen's Bench Division or in the Chancery Division. However, there are certain claims that may be brought only in the Queen's Bench Division, namely:

  • Sheriff's interpleader proceedings, (see Rule 17 Supreme Court Rules for further information)
  • Enrolment of deeds,
  • Registration of foreign judgments under the Civil Jurisdictions and Judgments Act 1982,
  • Applications for bail in criminal proceedings,
  • Applications under the Administration of Justice Act 1920 and the Foreign Judgments (Reciprocal Enforcement) Act 1933,
  • Registration and satisfaction of Bills of Sale,
  • Election Petitions,
  • Obtaining evidence for foreign courts.

For a general explanation of the work and practice of the Queen's Bench Division with particular regard to proceedings started in the Central Office, please view the Queen's Bench Guide prepared by the Senior Master. 

The work of the Queen's Bench Division is (with certain exceptions) governed by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR). The Divisional Court, the Admiralty Court, Commercial Court and Technology and Construction Court are all part of the Queen's Bench Division. However, each does specialised work requiring a distinct procedure that to some extent modifies the CPR. For that reason each publishes its own Guide or Practice Direction, to which reference should be made by parties wishing to proceed in the specialist courts.

Before contacting the court, ensure whether your query relates to a Master or a Judge. Any queries relating to trials or fixing of dates before Queen's Bench judges should be directed to the Queen’s Bench listing office on 020 7947 6021. Any queries relating to masters should be directed to the Masters’ Support Unit on 020 7947 7228/7772.
HM Courts & Tribunals Service

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