Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Plus ca change...

I was just asked briefly for some input on something that I haven't seen in years – a request for warrant of execution addressed to bailiffs in the county court.

There was some question about the recoverable costs, for reasons which will quickly become apparent to anybody who does not already twig it.  They are to be found in Table 5 at Paragraph 45.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules:- 
“Where a request is filed for the issue of a warrant of execution under CCR Order 26, Rule 1, for a sum exceeding £25 ............................ £2.25." 
As my dear old grandmother would have said, £2.25 in this context is neither use nor ornament.

What fraction of the cost of even a relatively junior unqualified member of staff, their heating, lighting, paper, postage etc etc is that intended to cover?  What is the point?

There are some other gems in this section of the rule that deals with fixed costs.  If you make an application for an attachment of earnings order, for example, then “for each attendance on the hearing of the application” fixed costs of – wait for it - £8.50 are allowed. 

I suppose it might cover your car park charges whilst you sit around at court waiting for something to happen. 

These provisions are hopelessly out of date. It’s little surprise that most of these prescribed allowances refer to orders within the County Court Rules (1981) which were supposed to be replaced by the Civil Procedure Rules 1998.

It’s another testimonial to the incompetence of our administration that after fifteen years and four times as many “updates” we still have stuff like this within our civil justice code - and this in relation to procedures that some deploy regularly and extensively.

Meanwhile the Ministry of Injustice is rushing to implement another set of half-baked rules that prescribe ridiculously low allowances for legal costs, which should sit very comfortably amid some of this pointless old rubbish.

It’s nice to know that not everything is changing.

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