|His Honour Judge Hacon|
Court FeesSince March court fees for money claims have gone up at a rate which is particularly punitive to IPEC clients and it is good to know that the judge is concerned about this and would welcome feedback. However, since, in the preceding 6 months to the end of September 2015 there have been 326 cases of which 220 are in the multitrack, it does not appear that the fee increase has had a devastating effect, though it would be interesting to know what values had been put on the new claim submitted after March.
The judge pointed out the extreme undesirability of saying that your damages were unquantifiable as this results in an automatic £10,000 fee. However, he saw no problem in quoting a relatively low value and then adjusting it when the actual value was more apparent. The increased fee would be payable at the time of adjustment and clearly making multiple adjustments was deprecated but the timing of the adjustment might well be problematic too. If a defendant has relied upon the value claimed, a late stage adjustment might be a shock. On the other hand if the defendant has deliberately suppressed the extent of his activities, he might not qualify for great deal of sympathy from the court.
The proposal to make no initial money claim was also mooted and it is in that context you might be leading the defendant up the garden path most, If you then seek an enquiry only after safely succeeding on liability.