Case study 1 - family law - divorce - England and Wales

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In this case study on family law – divorce, Member States were asked to provide information for 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 there are many influences that dictate the process involved in bringing such cases in the courts of England & Wales, therefore it is not possible to set out the definitive costs involved. You are advised to view the following Link opens in new windowcourt and tribunal fees for a list of up to date fees.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.

Court fees often depend on the tier (status) of court used and the steps involved in the individual case. A full list of fees charged can be found at Link opens in new windowcourt fees. Information will also be required on other cost sources, such as legal representation. The Link opens in new windowLaw Society and Link opens in new windowBar Council may be helpful in finding a legal representative, but they do not hold information on costs of legal representation, as this will depend on many factors of the particular case concerned.

For the examples here, we assume that:

  • An application for divorce is made to the court by the petitioner’s legal representative, with marriage certificate and all necessary details for service on the respondent
  • Acknowledgement of service is returned by the respondent consenting to the divorce
  • There are no minor children and any issues over finances will be resolved by alternative dispute resolution (mediation) without recourse to the court
  • Decree Nisi (a conditional divorce) is pronounced, following directions for trial (special procedure)
  • No hearings are held, and that
  • The petitioner’s legal representative applies for Decree Absolute (a final divorce order) after six weeks and one day.

Note that:

  • Fees are correct as at 22 April 2014. Court fees are subject to change, so you should always check with the court or your legal representative that an amount is still the current fee or view the following website for a list of up to date fees: Link opens in new windowHMCTS Court and Tribunal Fees
  • You have to pay a court fee to make an application for divorce to the court and you may have to pay further court fees at different stages of the court case. You may qualify for a ‘fee remission’ (depending on your personal circumstances) which means that you may not have to pay a court fee, or only have to pay part of it. However, you have to apply for a separate remission for each fee payable throughout the court process. So, for example, applying for a remission when the first application is made will give you the remission only for that first ‘issuing’ fee.  This is because your personal circumstances might change during the divorce process, and you might no longer be eligible for a remission later in the case. Alternatively, you might become eligible for a fee remission during the case. Further details can be found by contacting the relevant court office or by viewing the Link opens in new windowHMCTS Courts and Tribunals website

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

Indicative Costs in England & Wales

Indicative costs for court, appeals and alternative dispute resolution


Case Study

Court

Initial court fees

Transcription fees

Other fees

Case A

Currently charged at £410 –For a list of up to date fees, please refer to the Link opens in new windowHMCTS Court and Tribunal Fees website

Not applicable – no court hearing takes place

This fee now only applies where on or before 30th June 2013 an application was presented for a matrimonial  order other than an application to which rule 7.7(1)(b)of the Family Procedure Rules 2010(a) applies – for a list of  up to date fees please  see the Link opens in new windowHMCTS Court and Tribunal Fees website or by contacting the relevant court.

Case B

Currently charged at £410 – For a list of up to date fees, please refer to the Link opens in new windowHMCTS Court and Tribunal Fees Website.

Not applicable – no court hearing takes place

This fee now only applies where on or before 30th June 2013 an application was presented for a matrimonial  order other than an application to which rule 7.7(1)(b)of the Family Procedure Rules 2010(a) applies – for a list of  up to date fees please  see the Link opens in new windowHMCTS Court and Tribunal Fees website or by contacting the relevant court.

 


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

Information about alternative dispute resolution following breakdown of a family relationship (including costs) is available at the website of the Link opens in new windowFamily Mediation Helpline (or by calling the Helpline on 0845 6026627 from within the UK and +44 1823 623650 from outside the UK).

Information about alternative dispute resolution following breakdown of a family relationship (including costs) is available at the website of the Link opens in new windowFamily Mediation Helpline (or by calling the Helpline on 0845 6026627 from within the UK and +44 1823 623650 from outside the UK).

Case B

N/A

N/A

N/A

As above.

As above.



Indicative costs for lawyer, bailiff and expert


Case Study

Lawyer

Is representation compulsory?

Average costs

Case A

No

The Link opens in new windowLaw Society and the Link opens in new windowBar Council may be helpful in finding a legal representative but they do not hold information on the costs of legal representation as this will depend on many factors of the particular case concerned.

Case B

No

As above, though there may be two sets of lawyers’ fees involved in cross-border hearings.

 


Case Study

Bailiff

Expert

Is representation compulsory?

Pre-judgement costs

Post-judgement costs

Is use compulsory?

Costs

Case A

No.

When cases are issued, the court serves documents automatically by postal service. There is a cost which is currently £110. Please refer to the Link opens in new windowHMCTS Court and Tribunal website for service by the court bailiff if the applicant does not want the court to serve documents by post.

Note: information about the role of bailiffs and enforcement officers in England & Wales can be found at: Link opens in new windowHer Majesty's Courts Service (bailiffs)

See left.

See left.

No

Information on experts can be found on the website of the Link opens in new windowMinistry of Justice

Case B

Costs for service of divorce documents on a respondent are dependent on the type of service accepted in the Member State where the service takes place.

See left

See left

No

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

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/K

N/K

Case B

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/K

N/K

 

Indicative costs for legal aid and other reimbursement



Case

study

Legal Aid

When and under which conditions is it applicable?

When is support total?

Conditions?

Case A

Full legal representation will not normally be granted for a divorce where the respondent has consented to it or where his or her consent is not required although some Legal Help may be provided. Legal Aid generally will only be available for this type of work where there has been, or there is a risk of, domestic violence and where suitable evidence is provided in respect of this. The normal means and merits tests apply (see section: Legal Aid).

Where funding is granted, uncontested divorce cases will usually be dealt with under Legal Help (a level of service involving advice and assistance with a legal problem – but not including represent-ation or advocacy in proceedings).

Suitable evidence demonstrating that there has been or is a risk of domestic abuse or child abuse must be provided.

Case B

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

[See above]

[See above]

 



Case

study

Reimbursement

Can the winning party obtain reimbursement of litigation costs?

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

What costs are never reimbur-sed?

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

Case A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Contributions are required towards the cost of legal aid from those applicants who are assessed as having a monthly disposable income above £315 or disposable capital above the limit of £3000. The contribution required from income is a proportion of disposable income above the lower limit, payable every month for the life of the case.

The contribution required from capital is all disposable capital above £3000. Above figures are subject to change.

Case B

N/A

N/A

N/A

[See 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

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

Case B

Translation of documentation required for divorce, for example, marriage certificate.

See section on Translators’ and Interpreters’ Fees for information

See section on Translators’ and Interpreters’ Fees for information

See section on Translators’ and Interpreters’ Fees for information

N/K

N/K


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Last update: 20/06/2017