The government has announced it will proceed with court fee increases for some civil cases from this April and is consulting on further court fee increases. Respond to our survey to let us know how the proposals will affect you and your clients
Law Society president Andrew Caplen said: “Court fee hikes introduced by the government from April spell disaster for access to justice, pricing the public out of the courts and leaving small businesses saddled with debts they are due but unable to afford to recover. It cannot be right that the government has based a decision with such wide-ranging consequences on limited small-scale research and scant evidence. The phrase ‘false economy’ does not even begin to describe this disastrous announcement from the government.”
The government first consulted on the money claim fee rises in December 2013. The Law Society has long opposed the government’s policy of seeking to recover the costs of running the civil courts through court fees. Our response to the 2013 consultation argued that a substantial proportion of the cost of the civil justice system should be borne by the public purse.
The new fees, which affect money claims, will come into effect in April. Money claims include debt such as loans, utility bills and business debts owed under contract for goods or services delivered. ‘Unspecified’ claims – for example personal injury where specific amounts of claims are unknown – are also affected. Claims between £10,000 and £200,000 will be charged at 5% of the claim. Those over £200,000 will be fixed at £10,000.
The following areas are most likely to be affected:
- personal injury claims
- small and medium size enterprises
- private client work
- firms with clients using England and Wales as a jurisdiction of choice, for example international contract disputes
The Law Society has asked to see the raw data and evidence used by the government to formulate its decision and will be asking members for data and evidence over the coming weeks.
To help us persuade the government to reverse its decision, we need to gather evidence from our members. Please complete our short survey to let us know how the proposals will affect you and your clients.