United Kingdom: New court fees in the London High Court


Published: 25 March 2015

The development

As from Monday 9 March 2015 the fees that the courts of England and Wales will charge for the issuing of a "money claim" have increased very substantially. The previous fee structure banded claims by value and allocated fees accordingly up to a maximum of GBP1,720 (approximately USD$ 2,540 as at 20 March 2015).

For money claims exceeding GBP10,000 in value including interest (approximately US$14,760) the fee payable at the time of issuing the claim form is now five percent (5%) of the value of the claim.

The claim form issuance fee will be capped at GBP10,000 meaning that this fee will be payable on any claim with a value of £200,000 (approximately US$295,200) or more. This maximum fee will also be payable on any money claim where the amount of the claim has not been specified.

This fee is payable at the time that the claim form is issued and a claim form cannot be issued by the court without the relevant fee having been paid.

It appears that the fee for issuing "non-money claims" (e.g. arbitration claims or claims for a declaration) will not be affected.

The Law Society of England and Wales has begun the first stages of asking the Administrative Court to judicially review the increase in fees but this process may take some time and any decision to overturn the new fee structure by the courts would be subject to a number of factors.

Litigation management

Besides the obvious impact that these new fees will have on the overall cost of litigating in the English courts, members should give particular consideration to the impact that this will have on issuing proceedings simply for the purposes of protecting time under a time bar provision (especially if the claim is for an unspecified amount).

In addition, consideration should be given to the choice of dispute resolution forum where the parties may elect between arbitration and high court proceedings under, for example, the Shelltime 4 form. A full comparison of the different aspects of arbitration or high court proceedings is beyond the scope of this advisory, but certainly for lower value claims there is reason to give this some thought.

Court costs can vary across jurisdictions, and it is worth to always consider the full scope of possible costs (and their possible recovery) before commencing proceedings.

If members are considering legal proceedings for any matter that concerns their covered entries, or where members would like further guidance on whether their cover is involved, it is recommended that the Association be contacted in advance.

For further information please refer to your usual Skuld contact.

The Association is grateful to Messrs. Winter Scott, London, for their contribution to this update.