At the outset of an action you need to consider carefully where to commence proceedings.
This choice will affect how the case is run, as different procedures often apply in different courts. In addition if you choose incorrectly your case may be transferred, with cost penalties or even struck out.
The court you choose must
- Have jurisdiction to hear your claim.
- Be appropriate to the dispute.
What are the options?
County Court or High Court?
- If the County Court is the most appropriate option which County Court is the right one?
- If the High Court is the only or most appropriate option should the proceedings be in the Royal Court of Justice (London) or a District Registry? Queens Bench Division or Chancery Division? Or a specialist court (such as the commercial court)?
Although WGS can give you more specific advice the points you need to bear in mind are as follows:
High Court and County Court Jurisdiction.
High court jurisdiction is normally reserved for important and higher value or complex litigation or where the dispute gives rise to issues of general public importance. The following financial thresholds also apply
- Claims for £25,000.00 or less must be commence in a County Court.
- In the absence of special reasons, claims worth less than £50,000.00 which have been commenced in the High Court will generally be transferred to the County Court unless there is another specific requirement for them to be tried in the High court.
Which County Court
The Claimant’s solicitors will usually commence county court proceedings in the court nearest almost convenient to their firm. However subsequently a claim may be transferred for example to the Defendant’s home court after a defence has been filed.
County Court money claims should be issued in the County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC).
Possession proceedings need to be commenced in the appropriate local county court.
High Court which division?
The High Court has three divisions: Chancery Divisions, Queens Bench Division and Family Division.
The Chancery Division deals typically with the following claims involving equity, trust, commercial fraud, tax, intellectual property, land, business disputes, contentious probate, regulatory work, bankruptcy and professional negligence.
Some claims must be brought in the Chancery Division for example bankruptcy matters and contentious probate claims.
The Queens Bench Division typically deals with claims for breach of contract, negligence, personal injury, land possession claims and non payment of debts. The Queens Bench Division includes the following
- specialist courts
- the commercial court
- technology and construction court
- admiralty court
- administrative court