The Justice Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 3) 2018 has come into law. Schedule 1.16 of the Act amends section 44 of the District Court Act 1973 and introduces a new part to schedule 3 to that Act to remove any doubt about the issue by insuring the District Court has jurisdiction to hear commercial matters up to its jurisdictional limit ($750,000).
The amending Act is intended to provide certainty to litigants about whether they should be taking action in the District Court or the Supreme Court of NSW.
The enactment of this bill, follows a number of recent cases casting significant doubt over the District Court’s Jurisdiction to hear matters arising out of commercial transactions (see for example NTF Group Pty Ltd v PA Putney Finance Australia Pty Ltd  NSWSC 1194; Nova96.9 Pty Ltd v Natvia Pty Ltd  NSWSC 1288; Sapphire Suite Pty Ltd v Vellini Lounge Pty Ltd  NSWSC 1366; Commonwealth Bank of Australia v QBE Insurance (Australia) Ltd  NSWSC 1440 and Southern Cross Classic Pty Ltd T/AS Southern Classic Cars v Arch Underwriting at Lords-Ltd on behalf of Syndicate 2012 (No.2)  NSWSC 1530).
The bill amends section 44 of the District Court Act 1973 by inserting a new subsection (C1) as follows:
(1) Subject to this Act, the Court has jurisdiction to hear and dispose of the following actions:
(c1) Subject to paragraph (c), any action arising out of a commercial transaction in which the amount (if any) claim does not exceed the Court’s jurisdictional limit, whether on a balance of account or after and admitted set off or otherwise.