The principles a court will take into account when deciding where to allocate a claim are provided for in CPR 26.8(1) which are:
(1) The financial value of the claim;
(2) the remedy sought;
(3) the complexity of the claim;
(4) the number of parties;
(5) the value of any counterclaim or part 20 claim and complexity;
(6) the amount of oral evidence;
(7) the importance of the claim; and
(8) the parties’ views and their circumstances.
When considering the financial value of the claim the court will disregard any claim for interest and costs, contributory negligence and any amount not in dispute.
Cases will be allocated to the multi-track where the value of the claim is more than £25,000.00; where the time period to be allocated for trial will be more than one day and where expert evidence is required in more than 2 fields of expertise or where more than one expert is required in a particular field.
Although multi-track claims can be heard in either the High Court or County Court claims of less than £50,000.00 which were issued in the High Court will usually be transferred to a County Court unless there is a specific reason for them to be heard in the High Court.
Claims between £10,000.00 and £25,000.00 will be heard in the fast-track (this lower figure has changed from £5,000.00 to £10,000.00 since 01 April 2013). The trial must not be estimated to last more than 1 day and expert evidence is limited to one expert per party per field and expert evidence in two fields. Fast track will usually be heard in the County Court.
Trial costs in the County Court are limited in the fast-track in the following manner:
Value of claim
£3,000.00 or less – £485.00;
£3,000.00 – £10,000.00 – £690.00;
£10,000.00 – £15,000.00 – £1,035.00; and
Greater than £15,000.00 – £1,650.00
Small claims track
Claims will be allocated to the small claims track (a simplified procedural system) where the value of the claim (amongst other things) is less than £10,000.00 (from 01 April 2013) and is overseen by CPR 27.
Limited costs are recoverable in the small claims track and are governed by CPR 27.14. Solicitors costs of up to £260.00 can be recovered where proceedings include a claim for an injunction or specific performance. £90.00 per day per person can be claimed for loss of earnings, holiday entitlement for attending hearings. £750.00 can be claimed for each expert. Court fees can also be claimed.
By Michael Coyle at Lawdit Solicitors Southampton office.