Further Court fee increases

On 22 July 2015, Justice Minister Shailesh Vara, announced a Government consultation to further increase Court fees.  This consultation comes not long after the Government's announcement in March this year to substantially increase civil Court fees (see previous article, Court Fee Increases).

At current, claims over £10,000 attract a fee of 5% of the value of that claim, up to a maximum of £10,000.  Under the Government consultation, this would increase to £20,000.  Other increases detailed by the Justice Minister include:

  • The introduction of fees to property, tax and general regulatory chambers;
  • Doubling of the fees in the immigration and asylum chambers; and
  • A 10% "general uplift" of 10% in a "wide range" of civil proceeding fees.

However, the proposed changes would not apply to personal injury and clinical negligence claims, exemptions would apply to the "most vulnerable" and fee remissions for those of "limited means" would still apply with an intention to also be "more generous".

In addition to the above, further confirmed changes will take effect later in the year after coalition Government consultation.  These include:

  • Increasing fees for issuing a possession claim in the County Court from £280 to £355;
  • Increasing fees for general applications in civil proceedings from £50 to £100 for applications by consent; contested applications to increase from £155 to £255; and
  • Increasing fees for divorce proceedings from £410 to £550.

Again, fee remissions will continue to apply and there will also be certain exemptions.  However, there is no doubt that these agreed increases are going to cause concern..

The above measures are proposed to raise an extra £48m and £60m a year, respectively.

Explaining the above proposals, the Justice Minister appreciated that "fee increases were not popular" but also said "the Courts and Tribunals must continue to play their part in the national effort to reduce public spending, eliminate the deficit and reduce the national debt".  Ultimately, the fee increases are meant to ensure the rich, not the vulnerable, pay more but whether that happens in reality is yet to be seen.

The Government consultation closes on 15 September 2015.

Posted on: 23/07/2015

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.

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