30 Second Read – Fee Remission

Professor Dominic Regan

A Regional Costs Judge recently disallowed Court fees claimed on the basis that the claimant was eligible for remission from paying them (Stoney v Allianz Insurance). That should not come as a surprise. My great friend Kerry Underwood flagged this issue up years ago.

A successful party can recover costs which, put simply, were reasonably and necessarily incurred. Proportionality is irrelevant because fees are mandatory. See the WEST judgment of the Court of Appeal last summer (Suzanne West  v Stockport NHS Foundation Trust).

To incur avoidable fees is hardly reasonable. I approach this as akin to the classic test of mitigation of loss where a claimant is seeking damages. What  would a reasonable person have done if they had absolutely no chance of getting their outlay back? The driver of a Reliant Robin which was off the road would not hire a lovely Mercedes at £300 a day.

It is the duty of a Solicitor to have regard to costs and funding options. The ability to avoid hefty court fees is another aspect of the duty.

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