FIFTH BIRTHDAY REVIEW 9: COURT FEES, FEE REMISSION AND LIMITATION STANDSTILL AGREEMENTS
This is the penultimate post looking back at key series of the past five years. I am here revisiting two aspects of the law relating to court fees. Firstly the series on mitigating the effect of the (ridiculous) increase in court fees, with some associated posts, particularly on fee remission. Secondly “limitation standstill agreements” – a way of bypassing the need to issue and incur the fee.
MITIGATING THE IMPACT OF COURT FEES
- Limitation Standstill agreements.
- Fee remission – every litigator has to know this now.
- Only claim what it is worth and what you are going to get.
USEFUL LINKS ABOUT FEE REMISSION
- HM Courts and Tribunal Service have a general explanation here.
- The Forms and Guidance can be found here
- The explanatory leaflet is here
- The Fee Remissions Order itself can be found here http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2013/2302/note/made
- The calculations are somewhat intricate and useful guidance can be found
- http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/fees (this includes a link to a fee remission calculator).
- The form for an emergency application and an application to dispense with fees can be found at http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/forms/hmcts-fees/ex160aeng.pdf
- The New Law Journal has an article by Peter Thompson QC “Could fee remission mitigate the legal aid drought?”
- The Supreme Court Practice Direction on waiver of Court fees is summarised here.
OTHER POSTS ABOUT COURT FEES
LIMITATION STANDSTILL AGREEMENTS
There is some useful guidance to be found online.
- There is an interesting discussion of the case law by Tim Hirst of Park Lane Plowden in Can the Limitation Act Really be Suspended? Tim reviews the relevant case law and suggests that, to be certain, a clear admission of liability is necessary.
- It is of crucial importance that any agreement be in writing and in clear terms. See the problems that occurred for the claimant in Excel Polymers Ltd -v- Achillesmark Limited  EWHC 1927 (QB)
- An example of a “standstill” agreement can be found in the Lexis PSL Personal Injury site (this is behind a pay wall but you can register for a free trial).
- Practical Law also has a standstill agreement (with drafting notes) again behind a paywall with the opportunity to request a free trial.
GET IT IN WRITING AND MAKE THE TERMS ABSOLUTELY CLEAR
It is wise to turn to one of the precedents.
- Any agreement must be in writing.
- It should clearly describe the parties and the dispute.
- The date of the termination of the agreement must be clear and set out with precision. (For instance a “further six months” can be construed as six months from the date of the agreement or six months from the date of the expiry of the limitation period).
There may be problems in agreeing extensions of time in relation to accidents relating to air travel and similar issues. After two years the right of action is extinguished. Great caution is needed.