The Law Society has submitted written evidence to the Justice Committee inquiry into courts and tribunal fees and charges, highlighting how higher court fees are making society less fair and less just.

The key points raised were as follows

  • The case for reform was to protect access to justice, but higher fees will have the opposite effect.
  • Fee remissions designed to soften the blow will not help most ordinary people.
  • The introduction of employment tribunal fees have harmed access to justice.
  • The criminal courts charge are having a substantial and perverse impact on justice.

Law Society president Jonathan Smithers said: “It is encouraging that the Justice Committee is examining increased court fees and the introduction of employment tribunal fees.

“It is wrong in principle for the courts to make a profit for government. Our members have told us that the government’s fee increases will stop people being able to bring legitimate cases, particularly people on lower incomes. The fees render ordinary people’s legal rights meaningless because they simply cannot afford to enforce them.

“The criminal court charge is likely to waste taxpayers’ money by pursuing payment from people who are unlikely to ever have the means to pay.”