Division

The High Court and indeed the Appeal Court, and House of Lords are procedurally governed by The Supreme Court Act 1981, in conjunction with the Rules of the Supreme Court (RSC). The 1981 Act sets out the civil actions whereby a claim may be brought and the necessary procedure which must be followed. The High Court is divided into three jurisdictions: The Queen’s Bench Division – which deals basically with all matters not governed by the other Divisions i.e. all tort and contract matters. The Family Division. The Chancery Division – which deals mainly with trusts, wills, probate and tax stuff. The Chancery Division will also deal with claims whereby the only remedy required is the equitable remedy of specific performance. The Queen’s Bench Division has two specialist courts: The Commercial Court and The Admiralty Court. Prior to 1970, Admiralty cases were dealt with in the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division. The Administration of Justice Act 1970 abolished this Division and transferred Admiralty matters to the Queen’s Bench Division.  The rights of the courts, therefore, to deal with maritime matters are set out in The Supreme Court Act 1981. When speaking of the Admiralty Jurisdiction as under The Supreme Court Act 1981, it is referring to procedural law. Substantive law is ‘the law’ of the country i.e. tort, contract, criminal law, family law, etc. and in respect of shipping law collisions, salvage, oil pollution, carriage, etc. Unlike substantive law, procedural law is virtually completely codified, i.e. is completely statutory law.