Introduction

As noted in previous updates, significant increases to the jurisdictional limits for civil claims in the District Court have been proposed. The upper limit of the monetary jurisdiction for the Small Claims Tribunal is also set to increase. The Legislative Council of Hong Kong recently passed resolutions which increase these jurisdictional limits by way of amendments to the District Court Ordinance (Cap 336) and the Small Claims Tribunal Ordinance (Cap 338). These amendments will come into effect on 3 December 2018.(1)

Background

The background to the increases to the jurisdictional limits is set out in more detail in previous updates.(2)

The District Court's enhanced jurisdiction to deal with higher-value claims is intended (among other things) to improve access to the courts and procedural efficiencies. It is hoped this will alleviate the burden on the High Court by allowing for more resources to be dedicated to dealing with more complex claims. In this context, the changes can be seen as Hong Kong's overall push to broaden the appeal of its status as a regional disputes hub.

Snapshot of changes

Amendments to monetary jurisdictional limits

Jurisdiction

Existing Limit (HK$)

New Limit (HK$)

District Court

General jurisdiction (eg, contract or tort claims)

1 million

3 million

Equity jurisdiction where claims wholly involve or relate to land

3 million

7 million

Equity jurisdiction where claims do not involve or relate to land

1 million

3 million

Jurisdiction for disputes as to land (in terms of the annual rent, rateable value or annual value of land)

240,000

320,000

Small Claims Tribunal

Jurisdiction of the Small Claims Tribunal

50,000

75,000

Revised fees for filing of claims at the Small Claims Tribunal

Existing claim amount (HK$)

Revised claim amount (HK$)

Fees (HK$)

Not exceeding 3,000

Not exceeding 5,000

20

Exceeds 3,000 but does not exceed 17,000

Exceeds 5,000 but does not exceed 25,000

40

Exceeds 17,000 but does not exceed 33,000

Exceeds 25,000 but does not exceed 50,000

70

Exceeds 33,000 but does not exceed 50,000

Exceeds 50,000 but does not exceed 75,000

120

For further information on this topic please contact Amy Chung or Michael Maguiness at RPC by telephone (+852 2216 7000) or email (amy.chung@rpc.com.hk or michael.maguiness@rpc.com.hk). The RPC website can be accessed at www.rpc.co.uk.

Endnotes

(1) LN 131 and LN 132 of 2018, dated 27 June 2018. Commencement Notices LN 138 and LN 139 of 2018, dated 29 June 2018.

(2) For further details please see "District Court's civil monetary jurisdiction set to treble" and "District Court civil monetary jurisdiction to treble". For more general background, see LegCo paper on "Review of the Civil Jurisdictional Limits of the District Court and the Small Claims Tribunal".

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