PRACTICE DIRECTION 54C – ADMINISTRATIVE COURT (VENUE)
|Scope and purpose|
|Venue – general provisions|
|Excepted classes of claim|
Scope and purpose
1.1 This Practice Direction supplements Part 54. It concerns the place in which a claim before the Administrative Court should be started and administered and the venue at which it will be determined. It is intended to facilitate access to justice by enabling cases to be administered and determined in the most appropriate location. To achieve this purpose, it provides flexibility in relation to where claims are to be administered and enables claims to be transferred to different venues.
(1) The administration of the Administrative Court is organised by geographical area. In addition to the central Administrative Court Office at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, there are Administrative Court Offices in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester. Claims in the area of the Midlands Circuit are administered from (and should be filed in) Birmingham; claims in Wales and on the Western Circuit are administered from (and should be filed in) Cardiff; claims on the North-Eastern Circuit are administered from (and should be filed in) Leeds; and claims on the Northern Circuit are administered from (and should be filed in) Manchester.
(2) The Administrative Court applies the principle that where a claim has a specific connection to a region (by subject matter, location of the claimant or defendant or otherwise) it should, if at all possible, be administered and determined in that region.
1.3 Rule 7.1A makes specific provision for claims against Welsh public bodies. Such claims are to be issued and heard in Wales unless required otherwise by any enactment, rule or practice direction.
Venue – general provisions
2.1 Save where the proceedings are within any of the excepted classes of claim set out in paragraph 3.1 below, proceedings should be commenced at the Administrative Court office for the region with which the claim is most closely connected, having regard to the subject matter of the claim, the location of the claimant, or the defendant, or otherwise: see further below, at paragraph 2.5.
2.2 If a Claim Form which includes one of the excepted classes of claim is filed at an Administrative Court office other than in London, the proceedings will be transferred to London.
2.3 The proceedings may either on application by a party or by the Court acting at its own initiative, be transferred from the Administrative Court Office at which the Claim Form was issued to another Office. Such transfer is a judicial act.
2.4 Once assigned to an Administrative Court Office, the proceedings will be administered from that office and will be determined by a judge of the Administrative Court at a suitable court. For cases assigned to the central Administrative Court Office in London, this will be the Royal Courts of Justice. For cases assigned to any of the other Administrative Court Offices, the choice of court is a matter for the Presiding Judges of the circuit or their delegates.
2.5 The general expectation is that proceedings will be administered and determined in the region with which the claim has the closest connection. This will be determined having regard to the subject matter of the claim, the region in which the claimant resides and the region in which the defendant or any relevant office or department of the defendant is based. In addition, the court may consider any/all other relevant circumstances including the following:
(a) any reason expressed by any party for preferring a particular venue
(b) the ease and cost of travel to a hearing
(c) the availability and suitability of alternative means of attending a hearing (for example, by video-link);
(d) the extent and nature of any public interest that the proceedings be heard in any particular locality;
(e) the time within which it is appropriate for the proceedings to be determined;
(f) whether it is desirable to administer or determine the claim in another region in the light of the volume of claims issued at, and the capacity, resources and workload of, the court at which it is issued;
(g) whether the claim raises issues sufficiently similar to those in another outstanding claim to make it desirable that it should be determined together with, or immediately following, that other claim;
(h) whether the claim raises devolution issues and for that reason whether it should more appropriately be determined in London or Cardiff; and
(i) the region in which the legal representative of the parties are based
2.6 When giving directions under rule 54.10, the court may direct that proceedings be reassigned to another region for hearing (applying the matters referred to in paragraph 2.5). If no such direction is given, the claim will be heard in the same region as that in which the permission application was determined (whether on paper or at a hearing).
Excepted classes of claim
3.1 The excepted classes of claim referred to in paragraph 2 are—
(a) proceedings relating to control orders (within the meaning of Part 76);
(b) financial restrictions proceedings (within the meaning of Part 79);
(c) proceedings relating to terrorism or alleged terrorists (where that is a relevant feature of the claim); and
(d) proceedings in which a special advocate is or is to be instructed;
(2) proceedings to which RSC Order 115 applies;
(3) proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002;
(4) appeals to the Administrative Court under the Extradition Act 2003;
(5) proceedings which must be heard by a Divisional Court; and
(6) proceedings relating to the discipline of solicitors.