The County Court (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2017

20 February 2017

Author: Anna Haines-Smyth
Practice Area: Healthcare
Sector: Healthcare


On 13th February 2017 the County Court (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2017 came into operation (‘the 2017 rules’). The legislation amends the County Court Rules (Northern Ireland) 1981 (‘the 1981 rules’).

The 2017 rules substitutes Appendix 2 of the 1981 rules, which relates to the costs payable in proceedings commenced by Civil Bills known as ‘scale costs’, for an updated Schedule. Scale costs prescribe the legal fees payable in County Court proceedings based on the value and type of proceedings. In respect of clinical negligence claims, the jurisdiction of the County Court relates to those with a value not exceeding £30,000.

The 2017 rules increase the scale costs paid to Solicitors and Counsel in County Court claims by 1.5%. The scale costs have not increased since 25th February 2014 and, in accordance with the rules, they will increase by a further 1.5% on 13th February 2018. Miscellaneous and Occasional costs have also been marginally increased.

The rules have also inserted new scale costs bands for the value of claims of (a) up to £500 and (b) exceeds £500 but does not exceed £1,000. The 1981 rules first scale costs band referred to claims not exceeding £1,000.

Other relevant changes include amending:-

  • Order 15, Rule 17 of the 1981 rules so that a Judge/District Judge can enforce Interrogatories that are served without an Order; and
  • Order 21, Rule 2 (2) to make provision for Lodgements (Payments into Court) to be made after service of other parties’ medical evidence. Previously, Lodgements could only be made after service of the Plaintiff’s medical evidence.

Should you have any specific queries regarding the County Court (Amendment) Rules (Northern Ireland) 2017, please contact Roger McMillan or Anna Haines-Smyth.