TCC sets out guidance for handling low-value claims in TCC or County Court

West Country Renovations v McDowell & McDowell. Application had been made to transfer a relatively low-value claim from the Central London County Court to the TCC. Akenhead J rejected the application and set out the TCC’s approach to claims below £250,000 but with a list of non-exhaustive exclusions.

Excerpt from the judgment follows: the full judgment is at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/TCC/2012/307.html

…the approach in the High Court in London will be as follows:

(1) Generally, claims which are for less than £250,000 should be commenced in County Courts or other High Court centres outside London which have TCC designated judges.

(2) However, a non-exclusive list of exceptions is as follows:

(a) Cases involving adjudications, including enforcements and arbitrations may be started in the High Court, irrespective of the financial amount involved; this is justified by the need to build up a body of case law which is consistent in these important areas of construction law business.

(b) International cases of any value will ordinarily be accepted.  These will involve cases between non-resident (in the UK) parties or cases involving foreign projects or developments. This is explicable on the basis that for such cases, London is, commonly if not invariably, the first port of call in such cases, overseas parties will expect a TCC High Court judge to hear the case and the judges here are experienced in international work.

(c) Cases involving new or difficult points of law in TCC business or which have issues of technical complexity suitable for a High Court judge.

(d) Any test case or case which will be joined with others which will be treated as test cases. Examples could be a fire supposedly caused by a washing machine, car or lorry where the value of the claim is a five- or six-figure sum but it may be joined with others in which similar points are being taken.

(e) Public procurement cases. As the TCC in London has built up an expertise and experience over the last 4 years, it is sensible if the judges in the TCC deal with this interesting, important and developing area of law and practice.

(f) Part 8 and other claims for declarations.

(g) Claims which cannot readily be dealt with effectively in a County Court or Civil Justice centre by a designated TCC judge.

(h) Complex nuisance claims brought by a number of parties, even where the sums claimed are small.

(i) Claims for injunctions.

If there is any other good reason (even if not mentioned above) why any proceedings instituted in the TCC in London should remain in the High Court, the Court will retain the case.