Legal update: New claim values for District Court and Small Claims Tribunal in effect11Dec2018
Increases to the maximum claim values in the jurisdiction of the District Court and Small Claims Tribunal came into effect on 3 December 2018, following a consultation launched by the Judiciary in August 2015 and a passing of the resolution by the Legislative Council on 27 June 2018. The last increase in the District Court’s jurisdiction was in 2003 while the Small Claims Tribunal has not seen an increase since 1999.
The general civil jurisdiction and equity jurisdiction of the District Court in matters not involving land has been increased from HK$1,000,000 to HK$3,000,000.
In matters involving recovery of land or in respect of title to an interest in land, the District Court can now hear cases where the lower of the rateable value or annual value of the land does not exceed HK$320,000, up from HK$240,000.
As for the District Court’s equity jurisdiction in respect of land cases, this has been increased from HK$3,000,000 to HK$7,000,000.
This move should shift a portion of the Court of First Instance’s case load to the District Court, somewhat relieving the CFI’s burden as well as lowering legal costs for parties.
The Small Claims Tribunal’s jurisdiction has also been increased, from HK$50,000 to HK$75,000. This improves accessibility to the courts of parties whose disputes are on the lower end of the financial scale and who would not be able to justify the higher legal costs generally associated with bringing actions in the District Court or High Court.
To reflect these changes, the Small Claims Tribunal (Fees) Rules has also been amended in respect of the fee payable for filing a claim in the Small Claims Tribunal. The relevant amounts are:
- For claims not exceeding HK$5,000 the fee is HK$20;
- For claims exceeding HK$5,000 but not exceeding HK$25,000 the fee is HK$40;
- For claims exceeding HK$25,000 but not exceeding HK$50,000 the fee is HK$70; and
- For claims exceeding HK$50,000 but not exceeding HK75,000 the fee is HK$120.
The above is not intended to be relied on as legal advice and specific legal advice should be sought at all times in relation to the above.
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Disclaimer: This publication is general in nature and is not intended to constitute legal advice. You should seek professional advice before taking any action in relation to the matters dealt with in this publication.