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Legal fees

THE draft Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2015 was approved by the Synod after a short debate.

Once approved by Parliament, the order will become a Statutory Instrument, and the language and structure of the order had been changed from previous versions to take account of “modern Statutory Instrument drafting practice”, Elizabeth Renshaw (Chester), a member of the Fees Advisory Commission, said.

This year’s order reintroduced the link between fees payable to ecclesiastical lawyers, and the fees in the secular courts, with the result that it contained increases that were significantly higher than the rate of inflation.

“At some point in the past, it seems that many of the fees contained in Ecclesiastical Judges Fees Orders were set with reference to the fees paid to judges in secular courts for undertaking comparable functions or activities,” Mrs Renshaw said. “However, that benchmarking was not maintained.”

Under the new order, a Chancellor sitting in a consistory court would receive a daily rate of £630, on a par with recorders sitting in secular courts; appeal judges would receive a daily rate of £848.

The cost of diocesan registrars would also increase. Previously, their had been calculated at 75 per cent of the relevant amount received by ecclesiastical judges. Under the new order, this has increased to 80 per cent. The cost of applying for a faculty had also increased.

The motion that the Ecclesiastical Judges, Legal Officers and Others (Fees) Order 2015 be approved was carried. Once approved by Parliament, the new Order will take effect from 1 March 2016.

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