Court fee increases confirmed
On 17 December 2015, the Ministry of Justice ("MoJ") published its response to the Government consultation on Court fees - see my previous article Further Court Fee Increases, for more details.
The MoJ has decided to proceed with most of the proposed increases set out in the Government consultation in order to, in their words, "protect access to justice".
The MoJ therefore intends to:
- Keep the current fee cap of £10,000 for money claims;
- Implement a 10% fee increase across all civil Court fees; and
- Introduce fees in other tribunal proceedings.
The Government consultation did originally propose that the maximum fee cap for money claims should be increased to £20,000, or that it should be removed entirely. This was strongly opposed in many responses to the consultation, primarily, because it was felt that there had not been enough time to understand the impact of the enhanced fees (and the current cap of £10,000) introduced in March 2015. That being said, the MoJ's response does indicate that the Government does not rule out returning to this proposal in the future once there has been more time to properly assess the impact of those enhanced fees.
Despite the March 2015 increases, the response sets out how it is felt that HMCTS has a continuous need to be funded properly and the increase of court fees is therefore vital to do this. The Government's view is also that the changes introduced in March 2015 do not impact on these new increases and it does not therefore accept that there is any bar to access to justice, as alleged in the received consultation responses.
The Government response does not set out any clear indication of when the changes will come into effect, aside from simply stating that the Government will bring forward the necessary statutory instruments for the majority of the proposals "as soon as Parliamentary time allows". A further update will therefore follow once more information is available.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.