Change in Jurisdiction of the Courts.
The Judicial and Legal Provisions (Amendment No. 2) Act 2018 has amended with effect from 3 January 2019 the jurisdictions of the District Courts and of the Intermediate Court in civil matters.
District Courts now have jurisdiction to hear cases of an amount of up to Rs. 250,000. It used to be Rs. 50,000. The Intermediate Court which had jurisdiction in cases of up to Rs. 500,000 has found its jurisdiction increased to an amount not exceeding Rs. 2,000,000.
As from this year, civil claims of a value of up to Rs. 250,000 will have to be lodged before the relevant District Courts and those of a value ranging in excess of Rs. 250,000 up to Rs. 2,000,000 will be entered before the Intermediate Court , leaving cases above Rs. 2,000,000 to be initiated before the Supreme Court.
This amendment impacts a great number of cases that are presently in the various Courts. Unless hearing of the case has already started, it will be transferred to the Court with appropriate jurisdiction. A number of civil cases which have been entered before the Supreme Court will have to be transferred to the Intermediate Court, and from the Intermediate Court to the District Courts to meet the new jurisdiction thresholds.
Where proceedings started before January 2019 involving a claim for an amount not exceeding Rs. 2,000,000 have been lodged before the Supreme Court, the Master and Registrar must, except where the trial has started, transfer the case to the Intermediate Court as soon as practicable after 3 January 2019.
Where, before January 2019, proceedings involving a claim for an amount not exceeding Rs. 250,000 have been lodged before the Intermediate Court, the Master and Registrar must, except where the trial has started, transfer the case to the appropriate District Court as soon as practicable after 3 January 2019.Once transferred, the cases will follow the normal course from the stage at which they were before the previous Court.
A transfer to District Courts may raise an additional issue of territorial (or geographic) jurisdiction since they exercise jurisdiction over defined district boundaries. The Courts are regularly issuing circulars in cases which are moved from one Court to another.
BLC Robert will closely monitor the transfer of cases and regularly update its clients whenever there are changes in jurisdictions and inform them of the new Court venue to which their cases have been transferred.
Our Attorneys will also, in an attempt to save their business clients trouble and inconvenience, try to move as many cases as they reasonably can before the District Court of Port Louis so that at least the hearing of the cases can be held in Port Louis, though no assurance can be given.
Any enquiries about this recent amendment to the jurisdiction of the Courts may be directed to our Attorneys:
Senior Attorney Andre Robert Email Andre.Robert@blc.mu
Attorney Dave Boolauky Email Dave.Boolauky@blc.mu
Telephone: (+230) 212 21 54
BLC Robert & Associates