I have my Costs Order but the respondent will not pay?
A costs order becomes payable 14 days from the date the order was made. If the petitioner has solicitors they will first of all write to the respondent to remind them of the costs order and if there is no payment or proposals for payment forthcoming, the petitioner can consider enforcing the costs order.
This process is lengthy and possibly costly as there is no guarantee that the costs order will be enforced or that the costs of the enforcement process will be recovered by the petitioner. It is covered under Part 47 of the Civil Procedure Rules.
The first step in the procedure will be to apply for detailed assessment. This must be done within three months of the date of the order. The petitioner must serve the respondent with formal notice that the assessment procedure is being commenced using the appropriate form together with a copy of the bill.
The respondent then has 21 days in which to provide the petitioner with any points of dispute in relation to the bill.
If costs can be agreed, either party can apply for a costs certificate in the amount agreed.
If the respondent has failed to provide any points of dispute within the required time, then the petitioner can apply for a default costs certificate on the appropriate form. If a default costs certificate is made, the Court will consider ordering the respondent to also pay the costs relating to the process of obtaining the default costs certificate.
If points of dispute are served correctly, the petitioner then has 21 days in which to respond and must request a detailed assessment hearing. It is essential that this request is made within three months of the date of the original costs order being made if the petitioner is to have any chance of the Court ordering the respondent to pay the petitioner’s costs of the procedure.
Once the hearing has taken place and the amount of costs determined, the petitioner should file a completed bill showing these costs within 14 days after the date of the hearing. The Court will then issue a final costs certificate. The respondent should then pay the costs by the date stated on the order, or if no date is stated, within 14 days.
In addition to solicitors’ costs in dealing with the process, there will be Court fees payable on requesting a detailed assessment hearing, and further fees payable upon requesting a default costs certificate. Therefore many petitioners decide not to pursue the costs orderbecause, if the costs of pursuing a costs order are not awarded, the petitioner may end up paying more out than what they were originally asking the respondent to pay in relation to the divorce.