Proposed amendments to the limitation of value in the Dispute Act
On June 21st 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs proposed changes in the limits for mandatory hearing in the conciliation board, the small claims procedure and appeal to the court of appeal in matters concerning asset claims.
The Ministry propose to increase the limitation in the Dispute Act section 6-2 concerning mandatory hearing of an asset claim in the conciliation board from NOK 125 000 to NOK 200 000. The main basis for this proposal is that the conciliation board’s processing of a matter is simple, efficient and inexpensive and should therefore be used more frequently. The legal protection of the parties is safeguarded by the possibility of discontinuation of the case in the conciliation boar and appeal to the district court.
In addition, the Ministry propose to increase the limitation for processing a matter in accordance with the provisions concerning the small claims procedure in the Dispute Act chapter 10 from NOK 125 000 to NOK 250 00. The Ministry argues that the small claims procedure is an efficient and inexpensive process in the courts which gives more people access to the courts. The possible compensation of legal costs to a party continues to be up to 20 % of the amount in dispute. Therefore, the maximum amount for such compensation is proposed increased from NOK 25 000 to NOK 50 000.
The value of the subject matter in an appeal is increased from NOK 125 000 to NOK 250 000 in appeals against a judgement in an asset claim under the Dispute Act section 29-13. Due to the cost development, large parts of the value of the subject matter in such cases are consumed by the legal costs at the court of appeal. The legal costs will become more proportional to the amount in dispute by increasing the limit. The legal protection of the parties is safeguarded by the court of appeal’s ability to grant leave for matters below the limit of NOK 250 000, and it is assumed that the court of appeal will grant leave when the value of the subject matter is close to the limit.
Due to the difference in the amount limits, the hearing of disputes where the subject matter is between NOK 200 000 and 250 000 may be limited to one round, under the small claim, if the parties themselves do not want the matter to be processed by the conciliation board. In addition, the court of appeal may grant leave to refer an asset claim below NOK 250 000 to hearing in the court of appeal if required by the need of the parties, the nature of the case or process.