How to take someone to court over a construction, building, engineering or another technically complex dispute.
What cases you can bring to the court
You can use the court for a wide range of technically complex cases, such as over:
- construction, building or engineering (including adjudicators’ or arbitrators’ decisions)
- the design, installation or supply of computer systems
- advice provided by engineers, architects, surveyors or accountants
You can also ask a judge from the court to act as an arbitrator in your dispute.
See a longer list of types of technology and construction claim.
Cases worth up to £250,000 can be dealt with in a local county court, but your case will be heard in the High Court if it involves:
- more than £250,000
- very complex issues
- an international dispute
- adjudication or arbitration
High Court hearings usually take place in the Rolls Building in London but can be held in certain other courts around England and Wales.
Read the Technology and Construction Court guide for details of how to use the court.
Help and support
You can get legal advice from a solicitor or barrister.
Court staff can explain how the process works, but can’t give you legal advice.
Before you start
In most cases the court will expect you to write to the other side and to meet at least once before you start legal action.
You may be able to discuss other ways of solving the dispute, for instance by using an independent adjudicator or arbitrator named in your contract.
Read more about adjudication in construction contracts (PDF, 425KB, 29 pages).
How to start a case
To start court action, fill in the relevant form below.
Write ‘Technology and Construction Court’ in the top-right hand corner of the form.
Use the part 8 form if the main facts aren’t in dispute – eg you disagree on the interpretation of a contract or the law.
Where to take or send your form
You can file your documents electronically. This online service also enables you to search cases, order copies of documents and pay fees.
You can take or send your form to one of the two courts in London or your local court centre.
Local court centres
Pay the court fee
You will need to pay a court fee to start the case. This will be based on how much you want to claim from the other side.
|Claim amount up to…||Court fee|
|£200,000||5% of the amount|
If your case is worth more than £200,000 the fee is £10,000.
You can pay with cash, a credit/debit card, or a postal order or cheque (paid to ‘HM Courts and Tribunals Service’).
You may have to pay another fee of £1,090 for a court hearing later on.
Arbitration cases cost £2,455 for each day of the hearing.
Serve the form
The court will stamp a copy of your claim form. Give or send this copy to the person or company who will be defending the claim (known as the defendant).
You must also give them:
- an acknowledgment of service form
- notes for the defendant
- details of your case, known as the particulars of claim
The particulars should include all of the arguments and facts you want to use to support your case.
You can send the particulars with the form or within the next 14 days afterwards.
Send the court a certificate of service to confirm you’ve sent the documents.
After you serve the form
The defendant has 14 days to acknowledge the claim and 28 days to respond.
They can ask for more time to reply (up to 3 months).
If they don’t respond or defend the claim you can ask the court to decide the case in your favour.
If they defend the claim you will have the chance to reply to their points.
Case management conference
The court will arrange a ‘case management conference’ to discuss the next steps.
The conference is a meeting to agree on the date for the hearing, and how the case will be handled.
The judge will ask you about:
- the value of the dispute
- what you’ve spent so far on the case
- which experts you’d like to use
You and the defendant may be asked to use the same experts, to save on costs.
You will also be given a timetable for producing documents and making other arrangements, such as lining up witnesses.
There may be a follow-up ‘pre-trial review’ meeting, to check you’re ready for the hearing.
Your hearing will usually be attended by:
- a circuit, district or High Court judge or a recorder – who will decide your case
- the defendant and their lawyer
- you and your lawyer
- any witnesses and experts
During the trial, your lawyer will have the chance to:
- make opening and closing statements
- call expert witnesses
- present expert reports
- question the witnesses
The courtroom will usually be open to the public.
In most cases you won’t find out the judge’s decision on the day of the hearing.
The court will usually send you a copy of the draft judgment, to check for typos or other textual errors.
The judge or registrar will then formally issue the judgment.
If you disagree with the decision
Include your reasons for appealing.
Find out more about appealing to the Court of Appeal.
Details of hearings for the next day are published on the daily cause list.
Decisions on previous cases
The court’s decisions on earlier cases are published on the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) website.