Today, I sat down with our paralegal Hayley to have my first look at a Form H. A Form H is a document that is filled in prior to a first appointment or an FDR in which the costs up to the appropriate stage are detailed. FPR 9.27 states that at ‘every hearing or appointment each party must produce to the court an estimate of the costs incurred by that party up to the date of that hearing or appointment.’ It also states that ‘Not less than 14 days before the date fixed for the final hearing of an application for a financial remedy, each party (“the filing party”) must (unless the court directs otherwise) file with the court and serve on each other party a statement giving full particulars of all costs in respect of the proceedings which the filing party has incurred or expects to incur, to enable the court to take account of the parties’ liabilities for costs when deciding what order (if any) to make for a financial remedy.’ The latter part of this FPR is in reference to a Form H1, which is a slightly more complex form that is prepared in readiness for the final hearing.
An example of a Form H can be found here: http://www.familylaw.co.uk/system/uploads/attachments/0002/0921/Form_H.pdf. Like all forms within family law, and I imagine various other areas of law the first things to fill in are the names of the applicant and respondent, the name of the court, the case number, and the name of the client you are entering the form on behalf of. Next the Form H asks you for the date of the hearing, all of this is pretty simple to complete. The following section on the front page is a summary section in which you input the grand total. On some programmes this is a self-filling page, i.e. you fill in the rest of the form and it calculates the grand total for you, which is always a help. Underneath the summary are a number of boxes where the solicitor on the case must sign, write the date, state the name of the firm and the case reference number. On the following page comes the more difficult bit. The form itself is pretty straightforward; it is the calculations you are required to do to get to the figures for the form that can be the tricky bit.
Section A deals with costs incurred in the financial remedy proceedings prior to the issue of the Form A and Section B deals with costs incurred after the issue of the Form A until this point in the trial. The inputting of these figures means that you must trawl through every cost incurred on a case and calculate them accordingly, adding VAT as you go. Once you have inputted the single figures the grand total will update and you are ready for the solicitor in charge of the case to review it and sign it off.
I think I am making it sound a lot simpler than it actually is. But for now, until I tackle a more complex form H or a form H1 I am simply going to be pleased that I have the foundations upon which to build.
Image by shehan365