Increase in Court fees came into force on 9 March 2015

The House of Lords has approved the Civil Proceedings and Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2015.

For cases involving claims with a value above £10,000.00 the court fee will now be based on 5% of the value of the claim in specified money cases.  A maximum issue fee of £10,000.00 has been set.

Fees for claims valued under £10,000.00 will remain the same.

There is a discount for maters issued electronically through the money claims online facility.

79th Update to the Civil Procedure Rules

The following amendments came into force on 6 April 2015:

  • Part 21 Children and Protected Parties: Costs payable by a child/protected party from a damages award: Amendments are made to address the growing number of applications at approval hearings for payment out of a child/protected party’s damages to meet the success fee provided for in the conditional fee agreement or entered into between the litigation friend and the solicitor for the child/protected party.  The rules are amended to reflect when and how a deduction from damages of a sum to meet any shortfall between the costs recoverable from the other party and the solicitor costs payable to the child’s protected party’s solicitor applies. The amendments are confined to those cases where the award does not exceed £25,000.00.
  • Diversion of cases to London: the rules now require litigants engaged in disputes in regional Courts to state the reasons why a particular case should be transferred to London for determination when the appropriate specialist Courts are available regionally.
  • Part 36 and PD36 offers to settle: The changes aim to simplify the rules as far as possible in respect of Part 36 offers to settle, to make them more accessible to Court users, particularly litigants in person.
  • Litigants in person costs: Slight amendment is made to (1) hourly rate that litigants in person can claim for legal work, increased from £18 to £19 per hour, and (2) the amount a party or witness may be paid for attending a small claim hearing, risen from £90 to £95 per day.
  • Pre-Action Protocol for Low Value Personal Injury claims in Road Traffic Accidents: Amendments are made to reflect the introduction of a new system for sourcing medical reports in soft tissue injury claims brought under the RTA PAP. From 6 April 2015, medico-legal experts and medical reporting organisations will need to be registered with MedCo in order to provide medico-legal reports  for RTA soft tissue injury claims. The amendments also require solicitors to undertake ‘previous claims’ checks in potential claimants and to confirm to the defendant that this has been done.

Ministry of Justice responds to the Judiciary’s concerns about increased court fees

In December 2014, Lord Chief Justice Thomas and other senior members of the judiciary sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice raising serious concerns about the planned increases in Court fees that subsequently entered into force on 9 March 2015. The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, has provided a written response acknowledging the judiciary’s concerns in relation to the potential impact of the increased fees, in particular on claimants who may not be able to pursue a claim as they cannot fund the upfront payment of the Court fee. However, the Lord Chancellor argues that there are funding options available and the majority of cases about which there is concern can be addressed by the current fee remission scheme, which provides full or part remissions to those who cannot afford to pay the Court fee.  it was recognised in the response that the current fee remission scheme may not catch all cases. Therefore, he has requested that Ministry of Justice officials monitor the situation with regards to the higher value claims for which there is concern a, and to consider whether stronger guidance is needed on the use of the exceptional circumstances remission.

Association of Costs Lawyers launches new cost-specific ADR service

The Association of Costs Lawyers has launched a ADR service for costs disputes that consists of a panel of eight mediators, including former Senior Costs Judge Peter Hurst, and three cost lawyers. The ADR service initially offers mediation, with plans to extend the service to include neutral evaluation, arbitration and multi case mediation. The ACL expects lower value disputes to be conducted via telephone mediations, whereas higher value disputes are more likely to involve mediations undertaken in person. The costs for the ADR service are as follows:

  • A two hour telephone mediation will cost £400.00
  • A three hour medication in person will cost £900.00
  • A full day mediation will cost £2,500.00 for bills up to £250,000.00, £3,500.00 for bills up to £500,000.00, or from £5,000.00 for bills exceeding £500,000.00