Below is an email from Chief Master Marsh in which he sets out the system employed in the High Court for dealing with high value rent claims. You will note that as a result of a very significant level of uncontested claims they will be transferred to the Central London County Court unless you advise the court at the point of issue that there is a reasonable expectation that the claim will be defended or there is some other justifiable reason for the High Court to deal with the claim.
Chair of the Law Reform Committee
This is from Chief Master Marsh.
During 2020 the Chancery Masters saw an increasing number of claims for the recovery of rent relating to commercial premises. This was noted on our initial triage of claims. The value of the claims varied widely from sums slightly in excess of £100,000 to sums over £1 million.
We see every claim at the point of the particulars of claim being filed and decide whether the claim should remain in the High Court in London.
Our initial approach was to retain these cases in the High Court, even though they appeared to be nothing more than specialised debt collection. We considered it was right to see whether any defences emerged arising out of Covid. This meant that claims for rent that would normally have been transferred to Central London County Court have been retained.
Experience has shown that these rent claims are not leading to contested claims. In light of this, although each decision is discreet, we will from now onward at the initial triage be likely to transfer rent claims, whether the claim has a value below or above £500,000, to the County Court. If the claimant considers that would not be appropriate it would be wise to say so on issue.