The Ministry of Justice has set out plans to strike out claims automatically where the case fee has not been paid.

In amendments to Civil Procedure Rules published this month, the new sanction for non-payment was confirmed for claims where the trial fee has not been paid on or before the trial fee payment date.

The claimant will be liable for the costs which the defendant has incurred, unless court orders otherwise.

If the claimant has had notice in accordance with this rule to pay the trial fee, and remission refused or granted in part, the claim will again be struck out.

If a fee is not paid for a claim where there is also a counterclaim, the counterclaim will still stand.

The new rules come into force on 6 April.

The MoJ has also confirmed it is removing hearing fee refunds from next month for cases which have settled before trial.

The current process requires payment of fees within 14 days of a hearing notice being received. The changes will defer payment in most cases until 28 days before the trial date or the Monday of the first week of the trial period, giving claimants longer to settle before incurring any cost.

An MoJ spokesperson said: ‘It is vital we cut the cost of running our courts and tribunals to the taxpayer. We are removing hearing fee refunds as they are not enough of an incentive for parties to settle before trial and the administrative costs are far too high. At the same time we are also giving claimants much longer to settle before incurring any cost.’