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As from 1 July 2013 the Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2013, SI 2013/1407 (FPF(A)O 2013) amended the Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008, SI 2008/1054 (FPFO 2008), increasing court fees for the majority of family proceedings.
According to the explanatory memorandum the increase is based upon the cumulative rate of the Consumer Price Index inflation since the date on which they were last increased. Amendments have also apparently been made to:
What are the most significant changes?
The fee payable on an application for a decree of divorce, nullity, a dissolution order or nullity order will increase from £340 to £410. However, whereas previously there was a fee payable of £45 on an application to make a decree or order absolute or final, where the applicant has paid the issue fee of £410 for the petition this additional fee is no longer payable. In relation to cases where the application for a matrimonial order was made on or before 30 June 2013 the transitional provisions provide that the fee on an application to make a decree nisi absolute or a conditional order final is still £45.
Transitional provisions also apply where on or before 30 June 2013 an application was made in relation to proceedings under the Children Act 1989, s 31 (ChA 1989) and an issues resolution hearing or a pre-hearing review has been listed on or after 1 July 2013. In those circumstances the fee is £795 and the notes in respect of fee 2.2 in the FPFO 2008 applicable to an issues resolution hearing or a pre-hearing review and in respect of a refund where a final order is made at a case management conference prior to the coming into force of the amendments continue to have effect.
There are also transitional provisions that apply in relation to a request for detailed assessment in certain circumstances.
What do family lawyers need to be aware of?
Lawyers need to be aware of the increases and to review their costs estimates accordingly.
The new fees are set out in full in Schedule I to the FPF(A)O 2013. Some of the more significant changes are:
Matrimonial and civil partnership proceeding
Commencement of proceedings
Applications within proceedings
Note that this fee is not payable in relation to an application by consent for an adjournment of a hearing where the application is received by the court at least 14 days before the date set for that hearing, nor is it payable on an application to make a decree or order absolute or final where the applicant has paid the new increased petition fee
Proceedings under Children Act 1989
Appeal from a district judge
Domestic violence proceedings
Claire Sanders is a solicitor in the Lexis®PSL Family team
0330 161 1234