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Increase in Limits of District Court and Small Claims Tribunal Cases


Oct 19, 2018

The Judiciary has recently announced an increase in the jurisdictional limits of both the District Court and the Small Claims Tribunal, which will come into effect on 3 December 2018.

Currently, claims of up to HK$50,000 are heard in the Small Claims Tribunal where parties represent themselves and no legal fees are recoverable. No legal representation is actually permitted though there is an obvious loophole in the case of corporate litigants who can and usually do attend by or through their legal counsel.

Above this HK$50,000 limit, claims are heard in the District Court up to a value of HK$1 million where legal costs are recoverable (although typically at a lower rate than in the higher courts).

The changes that have been recommended are designed to more efficiently allocate resources between the courts as well as recognising the economic realities since the last review five years ago.

 

District Court (DC)

The Judiciary noted that the claim amounts for cases related to land matters are more tied to economic situation. Hence, jurisdictional limits of the DC will be further classified into sub-categories depending on the degree of involvement of land matters. The changes in limits of the DC are summarised as follows:

 

Current limit (HK$)

New limit (HK$)
(From 3 December 2018 onwards)

General civil jurisdiction

 1 million

 3 million

Equity jurisdiction where the proceedings do not involve or relate to land

 1 million

 3 million

Equity jurisdiction where the proceedings wholly involve or relate to land

 3 million

 7 million

Jurisdiction for land matters (in terms of the annual rent or the rateable value or the annual value of the land)

 240,000

 320,000

 

Small Claims Tribunal (SCT)

The civil jurisdiction limit of the SCT will be increased from the current HK$50,000 to HK$75,000. In addition, the range of claim amount which determines the fees will also be revised. Details of the adjustments are summarised as follows:

Current range of claim amount (HK$)

New range of claim amount (HK$)

Fee (HK$)

Claim that does not exceed $3,000

Claim that does not exceed $5,000

 20

Claim that exceeds $3,000 but does not exceed $17,000

Claim that exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $25,000

 40

Claim that exceeds $17,000 but does not exceed $33,000

Claim that exceeds $25,000 but does not exceed $50,000

 70

Claim that exceeds $33,000 but does not exceed $50,000

Claim that exceeds $50,000 but does not exceed $75,000

 120

 

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