It is a little known fact that if you settle a Court case before the hearing/trial you can get a refund – the earlier you settle the higher percentage you can get back.
Small Claim Track
Claim amount and Fee
Up to £300 £25
£300.01 to £500 £55
£500.01 to £1,000 £80
£1,000.01 to £1,500 £115
£1,500.01 to £3,000 £170
Over £3,000 £335
Fast track claim
The fee is £545.
Multi track claim
The fee is £1,090.
Refunding hearing fees
Small claim hearing
You could get a full refund of the hearing fee if you notify the court in writing, at least 7 clear calendar days (excluding the date of receipt and date of hearing) before the trial date or start of the trial week, that the case is settled or discontinued.
Fast track, multi track or non-money claim hearing
You could get a refund of some or all of the hearing fee if you notify the court in writing that the case is settled or discontinued. How much you get depends on when you notify the court.
When you notify the court
Fewer than 7 days before the hearing 0%
7 to 14 days before the hearing 50%
15 to 28 days before the hearing 75%
More than 28 days before the hearing 100%
This is an added incentive to settle your claim as soon as possible before trial.
However, the Ministry of Justice has unveiled plans to stop refunds of court fees for cases in the High Court and county court from next year. In a statutory instrument signed off in December 2016 by justice minister Sir Oliver Heald, the MoJ removed the availability of refunds for cases where they have been settled or discontinued.
The Civil Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2016 comes into effect from 6 March and applies to the fee payable prior to a trial for cases allocated to the small track, fast track and multi-track. Commentators said the ending of the repayment of court fees amounted to a ‘hidden tax’ for litigants.
Solicitor Kerry Underwood, owner of Hertfordshire firm Underwoods Solicitors, said the government is removing a key incentive to settle and thus save time and energy. ‘It is particularly inappropriate in the small claims track, where generally a losing party is not at risk of paying costs and where there are a high number of litigants in person and where anyone can represent a party and be paid for it,’ he said. ‘Parties may feel that they may as well have their day in court – nothing is lost.’
He added: ‘This is an ill-thought out measure which is no doubt seen as a way of earning extra money out of personal injury claimants when the small claims limit goes up to £5,000.
‘It is notable that the small claims track is also where there has been a sharp increase in hearing fees, no doubt for the same reason. This move is wholly at odds with encouraging people to settle.’
The statutory instrument also amends the timescales in which fees are payable.
Where notice of trial date or trial period is given by the court 36 days or more before the trial date or the Monday of the first week of the notified trial period, the court fee is payable at least 28 days prior to the trial date or the Monday of the first week of the notified trial period.