The government has published its response to a consultation on enhanced fees for divorce proceedings, possession claims, and general applications in civil proceedings. The government has also announced a new consultation on further fee increases.
Under the consultation, 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.
Personal injury and clinical negligence claims will be excluded from the higher cap and fee remissions for those ‘of limited means’ will still apply.
Fees would be introduced to the property, tax and general regulatory chambers. 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 consultation will close on 15 September.
The justice committee has also opened an inquiry into the effects of the vast hike in court and tribunal fees, including the regime of enhanced fees for civil proceedings, and how the increased court fees have affected access to justice. The deadline for written submissions is 30 September.
Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said: ‘The government introduced dramatic hikes to court fees just months ago. These latest proposals will increase fees by up to 1,320% for some cases. They will deny individuals and small businesses access to justice, crippling them when trying to recover monies owed to them.
‘All civil cases, from those filing for divorce to landlords needing their property back are affected by these latest punitive increases which are tantamount to selling justice like a commodity, leaving it out of reach for many ordinary people. This will only serve to widen the access to justice gap in our two tier justice system.’
The Law Society will issue a more detailed response shortly.