For many years, the Kenyan legal system has faced intense criticism for its opaque processes. One of these areas has been the court fees payable for civil cases filed in the High Court. The assessment and computation of court fees is one such area where legal customers aren’t always in the know. Knowing how much you are likely to incur in court fees before you even visit a lawyer puts you in an informed position and allows you to plan your finances accordingly.
The rules relating to the assessment of court fees are contained in the Judicature Act Cap 8 Laws of Kenya and the schedules to the various statutes. The assessment of court fees payable is based on the Guide to Assessment of Court fees Revised Edition, 1995.
Court fees are also referred to as ‘Appropriation-in-Aid’ and are a major source of government revenue.
There are various categories of court fees, including:
- Court Adjournment Fees (CAF)
- Further Court Fees (FCF)
- Court Collection Fees (CCF)- Incase of deposits and execution of warrants by auctioneers
- Admiralty Marshal fees
- Fees on miscellaneous matters
- Fees on special cases
- Fees on part-heard matters
- Mention fees
- Certification fees
- Reference to archives fees
Exemption from Paying Court Fees
- Court fees is not charged in criminal matters. However, fees is payable in privately prosecuted criminal cases.
- Other exemptions from payment of court fees are those provided under Article 22(3) c of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the provisions of Order 33 of the Civil Procedure Rules in the case of paupers.
Court Fees Payable in Civil Matters
In civil matters, there are two categories of court fees, that is:
- Fees on liquidated claims – this is where the plaintiff is suing for a specific amount of money. The fees payable for monetary claims ranging from Ksh 1 – Ksh 6000 are specifically tabulated in the court fees guide. However, any court fees above Ksh 5000 is assessed by deducting 5,000 from the amount claimed and then taking 5% from the balance and adding the result to Ksh 730 which is the fees payable on the Ksh 5, 000 initially deducted from the amount claimed. For example, if you are suing to recover a specified amount of Ksh 1, 000, 000, the court fees payable would be computed as follows: Court fees = (1, 000, 000 – 5 ,000)*5% + 730 Court fees = Ksh 50, 480
- Fees on non-liquidated claims – this is where the plaintiff is suing for an unspecified amount/general damages and/or is seeking some other relief. The fee for such claims is Ksh 1,500 in the first instance, per relief sought. The actual fees payable is paid as further court fees (FCF) once the amount of damages has been assessed and awarded by the court or by consent of the parties.
Tips & Warnings
- It is an offence to deliberately under assess court fees.
- In the case of non-liquidated claims, the registry cannot issue a decree or order before the payment of further Court fees (FCF).
- A court fees certificate shall be completed and signed by the DR before a decree or order is
- signed and issued.
- Court fees is non- refundable except in cases where court fees has been wrongly assessed.
- It is possible to contest the court fees assessment by way of a written protest filed within 7 days after assessment stating the reason(s) for contention. In such a case, the fees shall be reassessed by the registry.