Case study 1 - family law - divorce - Northern Ireland

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In this case study on family law – divorce, Member States were asked to advise the party that files for divorce on litigation costs in order to consider the following situations:

Case A – National situation: a couple gets married. Later they separate and agree to a divorce.

Case B – Transnational situation: Two nationals from a same Member State (Member State A) get married. The marriage is celebrated in Member State A. After the wedding, the couple moves to live and work in another Member State (Member State B) where they establish their residence. Shortly thereafter the couple separates with the wife returning to Member State A and the husband remaining in Member State B.  The couple agrees to a divorce.  Upon her return to Member State A, the wife immediately files for a divorce before the courts of Member State B.


Costs of proceedings

Important Points to Note About the Information Provided

It should be noted that it is not possible to give definitive costs and the matters included below are indicative only.  Where possible actual fees have been included for certain aspects of the processes but these should be viewed as a guide only. Fees often depend on the tier of court used and the steps involved in the individual case, a full list of court fees charged can be found at Link opens in new windowthe website of the Link opens in new windowNorthern Ireland Court and Tribunals Service.

We are not aware of any extra fees associated with cross-border divorces therefore Case B fees are assumed to be the same as Case A (except for costs associated with service of documents and any translations required which would be dependent on which Member State is involved). In Case B, the petitioner must be resident in NI for 6 months before a petition for divorce can be presented.

N/A is shown where the answer is Not Applicable and N/K is shown where the answer is Not Known.

Indicative costs in Northern Ireland

Indicative costs for court, appeals and alternative dispute resolution


Case Study

Court

Initial court fees

Transcription fees

Other fees

Case A

High Court Petition –£200

County Court Petition -£200

Fees are £0.78 pence per folio

or

CD audio recording £25 per hour

High Court Setting Down – £300

County Court Setting Down – £250

Personal application fee for a matrimonial interview – £50

Application to remove a petitioner’s address from the petition: £57.50 pence (charged at judicial discretion)

Case B

As above

As above

As above

 


Case Study

Appeals

ADR

Initial court fees

Transcription fees

Other fees

Is this option open for this type of case?

Costs

Case A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Not usually court-mandated

Mediation may be available via other organisations for example

Link opens in new windowRelate Northern Ireland  who charge £35 per session;  or Link opens in new windowFamily Mediation Northern Ireland who charge £40 for initial appointment then £60 per session

Case B

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above



Indicative costs for lawyer, bailiff and expert


Case Study

Lawyer

Bailiff

Expert

Is representation compulsory?

Average costs

Is representation compulsory?

Pre-judgement costs

Post-judgement costs

Is use compulsory?

Cost

Case A

Not at either court tier, but contested divorces (i.e. High Court) are normally more complex

N/K

N/A

-

Enforcement of a matrimonial order – £150

Not at either court tier

N/K

Case B

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above

 

Indicative costs for witness compensation, pledge or security and other relevant fees


Case

Study

Witness compensation

Pledge or security

Other fees

Are witnesses compensated?

Cost

Does this exist and when and how is it used?

Cost

Description

Cost

Case A

At County Court only, Viaticum (by petitioner) is paid when the summons is first served on the witness.

Other costs (e.g. loss of earnings, travelling expenses etc.) may be allowed at judicial discretion or agreed between parties.

Police Service of Northern Ireland witness – £12.15 pence per appearance

Public witness – £17.12pence per appearance

N/K

N/A

N/A

Certificate of Decree Absolute

£75

Case B

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above



Indicative costs for legal aid and other reimbursement



Case

study

Legal Aid

When and under what conditions is it applicable?

When is support total?

Conditions?

Case A

Funding is granted for a divorce, subject to the normal means and merits tests

Where funding is granted, uncontested divorce cases will usually be dealt with via civil legal aid

In uncontested proceedings, representation is available only after the usual means and merits tests have been satisfied

Case B

Legal aid is only available for proceedings that take place in Northern Ireland. The issue of consent (above) applies.

As above

As above

 



Case

study

Reimbursement

Can the winning party obtain reimbursement of litigation costs?

If reimbursement is not total, what is the percentage in general?

What costs are never reimburs-ed?

Are there instances when legal aid should be reimbursed to the legal aid organisation?

Case A

Such costs would normally be included in any agreement between parties or as ordered by the judge.

N/K

All costs have the potential to be included as part of a court order

Contributions are required towards the cost of legal aid from those applicants who are assessed as having a disposable income above £3335 pa or disposable capital above the limit of £3000. The contribution required from income is a proportion of disposable income above the lower limit, payable in 12 monthly instalments

The contribution required from capital is all disposable capital above £3000.

Case B

As above

As above

As above

As above



Indicative costs for translation and interpretation


Case

study

Translation

Interpretation

Other costs specific to cross-border disputes?

When and under which conditions is it necessary?

Approximate cost?

When and under which conditions is it necessary?

Approximate cost?

Description

Approximate cost?

Case A

If documents to be put before the court are not in English

Our service provider does not have a specific rate per page, as each job is sent to translators based on availability etc. and rates are different according to the language requested.

 

Current rates per 1000 words are Portuguese £103.00, Latvian £116.00, Slovak £102.00, Polish £107.00, Lithuanian £106.00, Russian £103.00 and Cantonese - £99.00. All plus VAT at 20%.

If parties or witnesses do not speak or understand English

Minimum payment of £30.00 per hour thereafter

Costs associated with service of documents

Depends on where to be served, acceptable methods of service in the other Member State and how many attempts required

Case B

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above

As above


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Last update: 26/06/2019