As one of the in-house advocates for Carpenters, and having over 30 years’ experience dealing with interlocutory hearings, I have noticed the Court Fees Office intention for a consent order to vacate a hearing should be filed with a fee of £100.00, is this correct?
In some cases, this is correct, however, how many of us challenge this assertion, only for it to be told at the end of the case the fee was not reasonably incurred!
The Defendants often argue when a consent order is filed with the court to vacate a hearing, where an application has been made and agreed, a consent fee is not payable.
In order to consider whether or not the fee is payable, you will need to look at what type of hearing it is. Has the hearing been brought by the court as part of its case management powers, or is it something which has required you to make an application to extend the court timetable or to seek disclosure of a report.
An application to extend the court time table need to be made on notice, if you have passed any agreed extension, therefore once the application has been made together with the court fee of £255.00, a hearing date is given for an attendance before the court in order for the Judge to hear why the directions cannot be complied with.
The fee is not only for the issuing of the application, but also the cost of attending before the Learned Judge, the costs are divided into two parts, £100.00 for the application and £155.00 for the attendance at court.
Therefore, even if the parties agree to a further extension of time, an application on notice still needs to be made, in order for the Judge to give consideration to the application.
The Court Fees Rules sets out what fees need to be paid, and when:
General applications – Fees Order 2.4-2.8
- Application on notice where no other fee is specified, £255.00
- Application by consent or without notice where no other fee is specified. £100.00
If however, the court through its case management powers list a hearing, for an Allocation Hearing or for a CMC, and is placed in a Judge list for a hearing, no fee is payable by either party.
The parties agree to Directions or come to terms as to how the matter should be proceed, then a consent order is filed with the court, and if the agreement is filed in sufficient time, then the Judge will either approve the agreement or make an order for the hearing to proceed, and if this is the case, no further fee is payable.
So when does the £100.00 fee become payable? Court Fees Office say if you are applying for an adjournment within 14 days of a hearing in accordance with the Court Fees Order, then a fee of £100.00 is payable.
No fee is payable for an application by consent for an adjournment of a hearing if received by the court at least 14 days before the date of the hearing.
This only applies to matter which have been listed by the court under case management powers and not because you have issued an application and paid the full fee of £255.00.
This question as to what fee is payable and when has been raised before the District Judges within the Merseyside cluster of courts. They are of the view if you have paid your application fee of £255.00, then there is no further fee payable, even if any consent order is filed after the 14 days before the listed hearing, it is only when the court has listed the matter on its own motion, that fee of £100.00 is payable.
Chris Skyner, author of ‘Court Fee Consent Order Confusion’, is an Advocate at Carpenters and MASS Regional Co-ordinator for Merseyside and the Wirral.