FILING FORM H: WHEN DOES A CASE HAVE A VALUE OF “LESS THAN £50,000”? A POINT TO WATCH
There are now several formats for Form H. The “short” one page version is now used in cases where the value is between £25,000 and “less than £50,000″. Some judges are interpreting this strictly to read between £25,000 and £49,999”. This may mean that the one page Form H is being used in inappropriate cases.
WHAT THE RULES SAY
The rule governing the one page Precedent H is in Practice Direction 3E at para 6.(c).
“(c) In cases where a party’s budgeted costs do not exceed £25,000 or the value of the claim as stated on the claim form is less than £50,000, the parties must only use the first page of Precedent H .”
A CLAIM FOR £50,000 IS NOT “LESS THAN £50,000”
The rules require that the value of the claim is “less than £50,000”. Some judges take the view that where (as is common) the claim form limits the claim to “£50,000” this is not “less than £50,000”. The extra £1 means that there is an obligation on all the parties to file a full Form H and not the one page version.
Consequently a party who filed a one page Form H was found to be in breach of the requirements and required relief from sanctions to avoid the costs budget being assessed at court fees alone.
I am not certain that this is what the Rules Committee intended. However I am reporting on how the rule has been construed.