The Civil Procedure Rule 3.7 has been changed to impose sanctions on parties that have not paid specific court fees. The new Civil Procedure Rules 3.7A1 and 3.7AA were introduced earlier this year and may cause havoc for imprudent litigators. Hollie Deacon, Trainee Solicitor explains what impact this will have.
The court will send out a fee notice when one party is required to pay a court fee, which must be paid by a specific date. If the fee is not paid by that date, the claim or defence will be struck out without further notice or order from the court.
The paying party may make an application for full or partial reduction in the fee but this application must be made before the deadline set out in the fee notice. If this application is rejected by the court then a new fee notice will be sent to the party with an extended deadline for payment.
The consequences of non-payment are that the paying party (or non-paying in these circumstances!) will automatically become liable for the costs that the other party has incurred to date unless the court orders otherwise.
It is still possible to apply to the court for relief from sanctions. The court requires a good reason for the failure to pay. Furthermore, where the court grants relief from sanctions, the court will order that the outstanding fee is paid within 2 days if the lawyers are in court for the application or 7 days from date of service of the order if they are not.
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