Bringing or Defending a Civil Case
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III. How to start a civil action

If, after considering all the relevant factors as mentioned in Part II, you decide to take your dispute to court for resolution, there are still some other matters that you must also pay attention to.

If you have to start a civil action, you should first consider the nature of your claim and the amount involved. You can then work out the appropriate court in which to start your action. For example, if your claim involves an employment dispute, then generally, you should start your claim in the Labour Tribunal.

Different courts have different authority to handle different kinds of civil cases and therefore it is essential to have some basic understanding of the authority of each court. These courts include the Labour Tribunal, the Small Claims Tribunal, the District Court and the Court of First Instance of the High Court.

Please note that the first four questions (see below) describe the different authority of the major civil courts and tribunals in Hong Kong. The other questions cover legal procedures involved in these courts/tribunals and other general matters.

  1. What is the authority and what types of civil cases can be handled by the Labour Tribunal?
  2. What is the authority and what types of civil cases can be handled by the Small Claims Tribunal?
  3. What is the authority and what types of civil cases can be handled by the District Court?
  4. What is the authority and what types of civil cases can be handled by the Court of First Instance of the High Court?
  5. Will I need a lawyer to handle my case?
  6. What happens if a mentally incapacitated person or an infant/minor wants to start a legal action?
  7. How can I start a civil action against another party in the District Court or the High Court?
  8. If I want to start a civil action against somebody through the District Court or the High Court, should I commence the action by filing a writ of summons or by filing an originating summons?
  9. How do I start a civil action by issuing a writ of summons?
  10. How do I start a civil action by issuing an originating summons?
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