If you are about to take legal action to recover debt, you need to be aware of the imminent changes to the court system.
On 22 April 2014, there will no longer be local County Courts such as the “Manchester County Court”. Instead there will be a single County Court of England and Wales “The County Court”. There will still be local court buildings but they will instead be called County Court Hearing Centres, for example the “Manchester County Court Hearing Centre”.
Why Introduce The Single County Court?
The reason for the change is to further centralise how the civil courts process lower value claims. The County Court Bulk Centre was introduced a few years ago, with offices in Salford processing the vast majority of civil claims issued for court users up and down the country. The aim was to make processing claims more efficient and cost effective.
In practical terms, it shouldn’t make much difference to how claims are resolved. If you take legal action to recover debt, you will still be going to the same court building and before the same Judges if the matter goes to trial. It just means that the paperwork with refer to “The County Court” rather than for example, “The Manchester County Court”.
It might also mean that the local court hearing centre will only receive the papers relating to the claim later on and closer to trial. Ideally, the changes will ease the administrative pressure on the local court staff.
It remains to be seen what problems or benefits the changes will make. On face value it looks as though they are simply changing the names of the courts. As William Shakespeare wrote, “Would a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, so will changing the names and terms used make any difference?