Civil Litigation and the Courts


"Litigation as a last resort" is the matra underpinning the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR)

The County Court

The County Court deals with more straightforward cases including:

  • claims for money only, whether it be for specific debt or for damages, where the anticpated value of the claim is for £100,000 or less;
  • personal injury claims for less than £50,000.

Note that money-only claims are started under CPR 7  and must be issued centerally in the County Court Money Claims Centre. Contested claims are later transferred to a names County Court hearing centre. 

The High Court 

Only more complex cases are dealt within the High Court. The High Court is divided into three divisions:

  • Queen Bench Division - which covers actions in contract and tort. 
  • Chancery Division - which is used for disputes over wills, inheritance etc.
  • Family Division - which is used for adoption etc.

Judicial functions in the High Court are shared between:

  • Masters- who deal with interim applications and case management matters; and
  • High Court judges - who deal primarily with trials, but also interim applications and case management as appropriate. 

The sources of procedural law 

Litigation is essentially divided into three stages:

  • the pre-action stage;
  • from issue of proceedings through to judgment…


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