SOMETHING FOR THE WEEKEND: THE SOLICITOR WHO TOOK ON SALFORD OVER COURT FEES AND WON

I may make a habit of blogging cheerful(ish) stuff on a Friday*. This weeks its hats of to Dominic Cooper of IE Legal Solicitors who was sent me details of his run in, and success, with Salford.

THE DISPUTE

Like everyone else a few weeks ago Mr Cooper was issuing proceedings promptly to avoid the increase in court fees. He filed the claim form and paid the (lower fee).

SALFORD’S RESPONSE

Back came the proceedings with a number of complaints:

  • The “Service out of the Jurisdiction” form (N510) had not been completed.(Information was given where it could be downloaded from).
  • “The Statement of Truth needs to be signed… Please sign your documents and resubmit your claim at your earliest convenience”

Of course there was a sting in the tail. The new Civil Fees Order had come into force:

Any claims or counterclaims received prior to the new fee order but returned because there was an error and then subsequently resubmitted after the fee increase will attract the new fee.”

MR COOPER’S RESPONSE

Mr Cooper, however, did not take kindly to this:

  • “We only have to provide a form N510 if we intend to serve outside the jurisdiction without needing permission of the court. Civil Procedure Rules 6.34(2)(a)(b) does not say that if an N510 is not provided the claim may not be issued. The rule says it cannot be served outside the jurisdiction.”
  • “We know where the N510 can be found. It is not appropriate. We need permission of the court to serve outside and the jurisdiction and will apply for that permission in due course.”
  • “The statement of truth does not need to be signed for a Claim Form to be issued. A Claim Form is entirely separate from the Particulars of Claim. The Claim Form has no requirement for a signature whatsoever, and it is the Claim Form that needs to be issued. If the Particulars of Claim were not signed when served on the Defendant, they would not be valid, but that is a matter for the Defendant to raise, not the court.”

THE RESULT

Mr Cooper reports that having received this letter they issued the claim form (using the old fee). As he observes:

“I wonder how many people have (wrongly) paid the higher fee, when Salford wrongly rejected a claim form and returned it to the solicitors. In particular, I think it is instructive that a Claim Form itself does not require to be signed – only the Particulars of Claim.”

* Trouble is that any “cheerful stuff” does not get read (according to the stats). Plus there is little of it about.

One comment

  1. CPR 22.1 requires all Statements of Case to be verified by Statement of Truth. CPR 16 covers the contents of Statements of Case and includes Claim Forms. PD 22 para 2.3(1) specifically refers to what the Claim Form’s Statement of Truth should say if contained in a document other than the Claim Form itself.

    Granted, this conflicts with the standard form wording of the Claim Form that suggests the signatory is verifying the POCs (probably a long term drafting error), but I don’t think its necessarily safe to run the line that a Claim Form doesn’t need to be signed all that far.

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