In August 2015, the Judiciary issued a Consultation Paper on the Review of the Civil Jurisdictional Limits of the District Court and the Small Claims Tribunal.
In summary, the Judiciary proposes the following increases in jurisdictional limits for the District Court (“DC”) and the Small Claims Tribunal (“SCT”):
- general financial limit of the civil jurisdiction of the DC: from HK$1 million to HK$3 million;
- financial limit for DC cases on recovery of and title to land: from HK$240,000 to HK$320,000;
- limit for the equity jurisdiction in the DC where land is not involved: from HK$1 million to HK$ 3 million;
- limit for the equity jurisdiction in the DC involving land: from HK$3 million to HK$7 million; and
- limit for SCT: from HK$50,000 to HK$75,000.
The Law Society has reviewed the Consultation Paper and prepared a written submission. In principle, the Law Society agrees to the proposed increases, subject to the caveat that the Judiciary should at the same time carefully consider the following salient issues:
(a) implications on the Judiciary’s resources with the proposed increases;
(b) the “2/3 cap rule” on costs;
(c) review of Solicitors’ Hourly Rates; and
(d) taxation practices.
The Law Society’s full submission is available at http://www.hklawsoc.org.hk/pub_e/news/submissions/20151210.pdf.