The Civil Proceedings Fee (Amendment) Order 2016 will come into force from 6 March 2017.

The forthcoming changes to the Civil Proceedings Fees Order 2008 (which sets out the fees payable in civil claims) are as follows:

  • Removal of the ability to claim a refund of the trial fee if the matter settles or is discontinued after this fee has been paid
  • A change to the time at which the trial fee must be paid – 28 days prior to the trial date or start of the trial period, unless there are less than 36 days between notification of the trial date or start of the trial period, in which case the fee will be payable seven days after notification
  • A change to the process for strike out of the claim (or counterclaim) if the trial fee is not paid

There will not be a change to the amount of the fee.

The changes to the refund and time to pay the trial fee have been confirmed in The Civil Proceedings Fee (Amendment) Order 2016. However, a change to the process for strike out of the claim will only come into force by an amendment to the Civil Procedure Rules and this has not been published in the final form as yet.

The changes will not affect claims which are already listed to commence after 6 March 2017. The changes will only affect claims in which the court gives notice of the trial date or the start of the trial period on or after this date.

Practical implications

  • This will lead to higher procedural costs, in relevant circumstances, for defendants under the qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) regime
  • There will be the ability to secure technical knockout if claimant solicitors fail to pay the trial fee
  • It is thought that the strike out for non-payment will be automatic, but defendants must be prepared to ensure costs are policing this correctly