Kerry Underwood


with 6 comments

The matters dealt with in this piece are examined in great detail in my three volume, 1,300 page book Personal Injury Small Claims, Portals and Fixed Costs – price £50 and available from Underwoods Solicitors here.

Kerry Underwood offers consultancy services in relation to this and other matters and details are here.


A claimant who could have applied for remission of the court fee does not do so and wins the case.

Is the losing defendant liable for that court fee? No or Yes, depending upon which court you are in.



Stoney v Allianz Insurance Plc Case No: E14LV817, Liverpool County Court 7 November 2019

the court said no, holding that the fee was unreasonably incurred as the claimant may have been entitled to fee remission, that is he would not have had to pay the fee.

The judge accepted that this meant that a necessarily incurred court fee, caused by the negligence of the insured, would be borne by the state and not the insurance company, but said that that was a matter for Parliament or the Rules Committee.



Cook v Malcolm Nicholls Limited Case No: B57YP191, Coventry County Court 11 April 2019

the court said yes:


I take the view that the court fee is the court fee. That has got to be paid.”


The latest addition to case law, again at County Court level, is


Ivanoy v Lubble (Central London County Court 17th January 2020)


where the court said:


“…. I am satisfied that it is not unreasonable for the Claimant to pass on the hearing fee to the Defendant”.




It would be a very simple matter indeed for the Civil Procedure Rules to say either:

“A successful claimant shall recover any court fee paid, whether or not that party could have sought remission of that fee”


“A defendant shall not be liable for a court fee incurred by a party who could have successfully claimed remission of that fee.”

Don’t hold your breath.

Written by kerryunderwood

November 11, 2019 at 11:17 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. I’d have thought the simple answer was whether vista on standard or indemnity basis? I’d say yes on indemnity, no on standard?

    Matthew Seligman

    November 11, 2019 at 5:48 pm

    • Legal test is same as far as unreasonableness is concerned: if unreasonably incurred, then you cannot recover on standard or indemnity basis.


      November 11, 2019 at 5:52 pm

  2. Why is the state liable and not the claimant- were they able to claim remission retroactively?


    November 11, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    • The point is that if a person claims remission and wins and the fee cannot be recovered, as it was not paid, then the tortfeasor gets a windfall and the state loses the fee but still has to put judicial resources etc in to the case. True it is that if a claimant wrongly pays the fee and cannot recover it, then the state does not lose out, but the argument is why should the tortfeasor avoid a liability to the state simply because of the claimant’s finances? It does not happen in relation to other disbursements, or for example, in relation to a legally aided claimant.



      November 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm

  3. Thanks Kerry, I agree that where remission is successfully claimed then an unsuccessful Defendant shouldn’t be exempt from paying it (although there is a strong argument that court fees in this country are too high). But the judges remarks in this case are curious because there was no remission, so it is the successful Claimant who is unable to recover court fees, albeit because of their own unreasonableness in not claiming remission. Plus the judge seems to confuse unnecessary and unreasonable.


    November 14, 2019 at 7:18 am

    • Agree with all that. In relation to reasonable/necessary. I think that the strict position is that it is unreasonable to incur the court fee without making an application for remission where appropriate, but then unnecessary – and obviously unreasonable as well – to incur the fee if it does not have to be incurred because the claimant is entitled to remission.



      November 14, 2019 at 2:01 pm

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