CIVIL PROCEDURE RULE CHANGES
The Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2017 were laid before Parliament on 3 February 2017 and will come into force at various times over the next three months.
Multi-track cases not subject to fixed costs – effective 6 April 2017.
The new rules give statutory force to the Court of Appeal’s decision in Qader & Others v Esure Ltd & Khan v McGee  EWCA Civ 1109, 16 November 2016 by specifically providing that Fixed Recoverable Costs apply only “for as long as the case is not allocated to the multi-track.”
£25,000.00 upper fixed costs limit scrapped – effective 6 April 2017
The words “but not more than £25,000.00” are removed throughout the CPR 45.29 fixed costs tables.
Thus an ex-portal claim remains subject to Fixed Recoverable Costs whatever its value. It is only allocation to the multi-track that takes it out of fixed costs.
Non-payment of trial fees – effective 6 March 2017
There is a new provision which has been described as the re-introduction of Automatic Strike Out, which, up to a point, it is.
However this will only occur after a notice has been sent out giving details of the fee to be paid, when it is to be paid, and the consequences of not paying the fee.
The new procedure
The court sends out a notice to the claimant when the trial date is set, and that notice states:
- the amount of the trial fee;
- the date by which it is to be paid;
- the consequences of non-payment.
If the fee is not paid on time then the claimant’s action is automatically struck out with the claimant paying the defendant’s costs.
Any counterclaim continues and if the action is continuing on the counterclaim only, then identical provisions apply to that counterclaim.
There is power to reinstate an automatically struck out claim provided that the court fees have been paid in full.
There is no guidance as to the basis on which that discretionary power should be exercised.
Fee remission (Help with Fees)
There are detailed provisions in relation to those entitled to help with fees.
Costs Budgeting – effective 6 April 2017
The new rules make specific provision for the court to record comments about costs already incurred before the budget.
The court now records any agreement about “budgeted costs”, that is costs not yet incurred, as well as any agreement in relation to costs already incurred.
The effect is to overturn the decision of the Court of Appeal in
In that case the Court of Appeal held that at a cost budgeting hearing there could be full argument about costs already incurred.
Now the position reverts to the pre SARPD regime, where the judge simply records her or his views on the costs incurred to date, and whether they appear proportionate, without any form of assessment.
Aarhus Convention claims – effective 28 February 2017
Aarhus Convention claims essentially deal with judicial review of decisions relating to the environment.
Such claims are subject to capped liabilities for costs as follows:-
- for an individual claimant: £ 5,000.00
- for any other claimant: £10,000.00
- for any defendant: £35,000.00
The new rules insert new CPR 45.41 to 45.45 dealing with its procedure in such claims.