The House of Lords this week announced plans for property cases up to a value of £350,000.00 to be issued in the County Court, following backing by Labour peers.
The previous limit was £30,000.00, pursuant to the County Courts Jurisdiction Order 1980.
The rationale behind the increased threshold was a bid to improve judicial efficiency, enabling the High Court to deploy its resources to dispose of more complex matters. In view of rising property prices, the County Court’s previous £30,000.00 limit was also thought to be largely inadequate.
Equity claims up to a value of £350,000.00 will now be able to be commenced and determined in the County Court, as provided for under the draft County Court Jurisdiction Order 2014.
Justice Minister Lord Faulks has welcomed the increased jurisdiction of the County Court, commenting that the County Court’s previous limit:
“ …resulted in many cases of relatively low complexity being heard unnecessarily in the High Court… In some instances, cases are issued in the High Court only to be transferred to the county court because the issues are straightforward…
‘…In view of the administrative and judicial time taken to allocate these cases in the High Court and the time taken to reconsider them for transfer and the transfer itself, these transfers often result in delays in dealing not only with that particular case but with other cases.”