TWO ISSUES RELATING TO COSTS: STAGE 3 ISSUE FEES; COSTS BUDGETING IN FATAL CASES WHERE THERE IS A CHILD DEPENDENT
I had an interesting email this morning from Jon Heath, solicitor at Levins, Liverpool. It deals with two distinct issue:
Stage 3 issue fees.
Costs budgeting in a fatal case where there is a child involved.
STAGE 3 ISSUE FEES.
“We anticipate that we will be bringing a claim for judicial review within the next few days in relation to overcharging for Stage 3 claims.
My view has always been that Stage 3 claims (with the exception of those brought for approval of a child settlement) are “proceedings to recover a sum of money” and should therefore attract the same issue fee as a Part 7 claim of the same value. My impression is that there was some variation in practice across the country when Stage 3 was first introduced – some courts were charging an issue fee commensurate with the pleaded value whereas others were charging the “proceedings for any other remedy” fee (currently £308). The MoJ has recently confirmed to us that the national fees policy is now to charge £308 for all Stage 3 claims.
If the MoJ has it wrong, and assuming that local courts have been following the national policy, litigants are systematically being charged the wrong fees. In claims with a value of not more than £5,000, they are being overcharged (£308 vs a maximum of £205), whereas in claims with a value of more than £5,000 they are being undercharged (£308 vs a minimum of £455).
I would be interested to hear from any of your readers who have been affected by this.”
BUDGETING, FATAL ACCIDENTS AND CHILDREN CLAIMS
“I recently attended a CCMC at the County Court at Liverpool on behalf of the claimant in a fatal accident claim. The claim is a dependency claim brought by the deceased’s partner on her own behalf and that of the couple’s infant son. I argued that budgeting did not apply at all on the basis of CPR 3.12(1)(c); opposing counsel argued, in effect, that the exception only applies to claims brought exclusively on behalf of a child, and hence that the claim had to be budgeted. District Judge Benson opted for the middle way, holding that the partner’s claim was subject to budgeting but the child’s claim not. No sanction was applied, perhaps in reflection of the fact that we had made an application to court before the CCMC seeking a resolution of the point, which had unhelpfully been listed for hearing at the CCMC itself. I thought the decision might be of some use to you as a data point if nothing more.”