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Appealing Court Fees - do I have to attend Nisi?

  • freeagain2011
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26 Feb 14 #423891 by freeagain2011
Topic started by freeagain2011
Evening all,

In March 2011 my wife petitioned me for divorce on grounds of unreasonable behaviour. I did not accept the grounds but did accept the marriage had broken down.

Fast forward 3 years I have just been notified the NISI hearing will be held on April 4th 2014 and I am to pay my wife''s costs. I would like to appeal but cannot attend the hearing as I am out of the country.

The main reasons I''m going to appeal is because during the interim period I had to instigate AR proceedings as, after issuing divorce proceedings, my wife completely refused to deal with the matter of the finances….putting us through nearly 3 years of hearings (which we both agreed to bear our own costs). There are other reasons, but the length of time taken over the process I believe is significant and mainly down to my wife stalling the proceedings

Can I do this in writing and do my grounds for appeal hold any weight?

Thanks

  • .Charles
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27 Feb 14 #423904 by .Charles
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A couple of points to clarify the position.

If an order for costs has been made against you, it will be the order that you appeal not the ''court fees''. I mention this as court fees are set by statute which are not subject to appeal.

Usually, when the certificate of entitlement to decree is issued, the documentation will state that a costs order will be made upon pronouncement of the Decree Nisi. Normally, this will give you chance to challenge the order for costs within a certain timescale. There may also be a date and time for a costs objections hearing.

If you object to the costs you will be expected to attend court or to instruct a solicitor to attend in your place.

If your main reason to appeal is related to the Ancillary Relief proceedings you will lose. Costs in ancillary relief proceedings, as a starting point, are paid by the party incurring them i.e. each party bear their own costs.

In divorce proceedings there is a provision to claim costs from the respondent in fault based (adultery and unreasonable behaviour) petitions.

Stalling financial proceedings has no effect on divorce costs orders. If this is your only reason you will lose.

Charles

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27 Feb 14 #423926 by freeagain2011
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Thankyou for clarifying Charles.

So it seems I am doomed to a certain fate here given what you have just said and that I physically cannot attend the hearing.

I may be able to dig out some paperwork that states we were going to split costs 50/50 but again as I cannot attend court on that particular date it is of no use anyway.

I do not have a solicitor anymore either

Could I ask the court fees are paid over a period of time? Or is this a request I need to make in person?

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27 Feb 14 #423929 by .Charles
Reply from .Charles
Your best bet is to agree costs with your ex''s solicitor and avoid the hearing altogether. If you give proposals for payment these may be accepted otherwise the default position is within 14 days of the order if the amount is specified.

The saving grace is that an order for costs is usually "to be assessed if not agreed" which means the other side has to prepare a bill of costs which is server upon you. You have 21 days to response and they have 21 days to file an optional response. If you cannot agree a figure they have to apply to the court for an assessment which will costs them £355 (which will be added to the bill for you to pay).

Charles

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27 Feb 14 #423936 by freeagain2011
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Thankyou for explaining the process, there are a couple of points i''m not clear on!

It does state on the order that the respondent do pay the costs of the Petitioner ''to be agreed and if not agreed to be assessed'' I guess it''s whether I agree to the amount of the fees though....not whether we had previously agreed to share costs?

So, I''m going to contact my wife''s sol (should I do this now or wait til after hearing has taken place?) and offer to pay 50% of costs with her covering the other 50%. I''m pretty sure she will reject that. Obviously I''m not sure what the costs are going to be here.

If she does reject I then ask for an assessment? And presumably this is all direct communication with her sol and not though the court?

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28 Feb 14 #424046 by .Charles
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The person with the order has to take action upon it. In the absence of an agreement this is what will occur:

The other side will prepare a bill of costs for detailed assessment, the cost of which they will add to the bill and seek to recover from you,

The bill will be served upon you.

You have 21 days to prepare points of dispute in the court prescribed format. With the replies you have to make an open offer of settlement.

The other side has 21 days to file optional replies.

In the absence of an agreement the other side will apply to the court for detailed assessment at a cost of £355. Those court will be sought from you.

When the bill is sent to the court, the other side has to send a statement of their costs of the process which will be sought from you.

The court will assess the costs provisionally. This means that a judge will conduct the assessment alone and the court will notify the parties of the outcome.

The provisional assessment process is meant for bills under £75,000 as there is no expensive hearing to deal with. However, it is still too cumbersome for small bills such as in divorce cases. Avoid if possible.

If you can find an agreement to pay 50%, send a copy to the other side and ask for details of their divorce costs. Otherwise just ask for details of their divorce costs.

Charles

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