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Default Summonses (Servicefees)

Volume 161: debated on Wednesday 14 March 1923

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asked the Attorney-General if he is aware that the fee for service of default summonses in the County Court, where served by an officer of the Court, is 1s. for each person served, which fee includes mileage and filing; that solicitors are allowed 5s. for service, 3s. 4d. to 6s. 8d. for affidavit. of service, and a sum not exceeding 5s. to 11s. 8d. for mileage for performing this duty, with consequent hardship upon needy persons; and that this duty is taken out of the hands of the officers of the Court for the purpose of charging extra costs against defendants; and, if so, what steps he proposes to take to stop this practice?

A default summons may, at the option of the plaintiff, be served by himself, or by some clerk or servant in his permanent and exclusive employment, or by his solicitor. or by an officer of the Court. If the Court serves the summons an inclusive fee of 1s. for each person served is charged. If a solicitor is employed he is entitled to charge an inclusive fee of 3s. if the amount is between £2 and £5, or 5s. if the amount is between £5 and £10. A charge for mileage or for affidavit of service can only be made on the service of a special default summons, that is, a summons to recover more than £10. I see no reason to believe that the suggestion that the duty is, as a general practice. taken out of the hands of officers of the Court for the purpose of making costs is well founded, for I am informed that, taken as a whole, the operation is not remunerative to a solicitor at the charges allowed on taxation.