The Justice Committee has announced an inquiry into the effects of the introduction and levels of courts and tribunals fees and charges.

Over the course of the last parliament, the coalition government pursued policies aimed at decreasing the cost of HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to the public purse, through the introduction of and increases to various fees and charges.

These included the introduction of fees for employment tribunals, a regime of enhanced fees for civil proceedings, and a mandatory charge imposed on anyone convicted of a criminal offence.

The Justice Committee welcomes views on any aspect of this subject, but would be particularly interested in submissions addressing any or all of the following questions:

  • 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?

The deadline for written submissions to be made is Wednesday 30 September 2015.