Following on from James Perry’s article in March of this year, once again there are plans afoot to increase court fees. The Ministry of Justice [MoJ] have released a consultation which proposes further increases:
- The maximum fee for money claims would rise from £10,000 to £20,000. Fees are currently payable on 5% of the value of a claim up to a maximum fee of £10,000
- Following consultations carried out by the coalition government earlier this year, the MoJ confirmed it would increase fees for issuing a possession claim in the county court from £280 to £355
- Fees for general applications in civil proceedings will increase from £50 to £100 for an application by consent, and from £155 to £255 for a contested application
The MoJ say on their website “As the Lord Chancellor set out recently, we are seeking to modernise HMCTS and improve its efficiency. We need a properly funded service that protects access to justice and if we are to achieve that whilst reducing the cost of the courts and tribunals to the taxpayer we must also look again at the fees we charge”.
The full consultation can be found on the MoJ website at:
The closing date for the consultation is the 15th September 2015.
Inquiry into courts and tribunals fees and charges
On the issue of court fees the justice committee has opened an inquiry into the courts fee regime. A number of fees and charges were introduced under the former government which included fees for employment tribunals and increased fees for civil proceedings.
The committee is seeking views on the following:
- How have the increased court fees and the introduction of employment tribunal fees affected access to justice? How have they affected the volume and quality of cases brought?
- How has the court fees regime affected the competitiveness of the legal services market in England and Wales, particularly in an international context?
- What have been the effects on defendants of the introduction of the criminal courts charge? Has the criminal courts charge been set at a reasonable and proportionate level? Is the imposition and collection of the charge practicable and, if not, how could that be rectified?
Submissions should be made by the 30 September 2015. The link to the enquiry can be found at:
MoJ looks to close courts to reduce costs
In a further consultation the MoJ are looking to reduce the HMCTS estate by closing one in five courts to reduce the current cost to taxpayers of approximately £500 million each year.
The closures were trailed by justice secretary Michael Gove in a speech last month – his first since coming to office. They are similar in scale to a closure programme announced in December 2010 which confirmed the shutting of 141 courts.
This will potentially lead to issues of access for justiceThis information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.