Georgina Emerson

Senior Associate Solicitor

DATE PUBLISHED: 28 Mar 2024 LAST UPDATED: 03 Apr 2024

Family Court Fees Increase from 1 April 2024

On the 10 November 2023 the Government announced that Family Court fees will increase by 10% in 2024. The rise in fees will take effect from 1 April 2024.

Why are Court Fees going to increase?

The Government’s explanation for the increase is to enable the court to improve service delivery, subsidise the costs associated with HMCTS and reduce the burden on the taxpayer.

In 2022/23, court fees generated £727 million which were offset against a total cost of £2.3 billion incurred in running HMCTS, the balance being funded by the taxpayer. Since the last increase in court fees (2021), the consumer price index (CPI) has risen by 17.8% meaning that the overall rise in court fees amounts to 7.8% less than the overall growth. There is a balance to be struck between keeping fees affordable and reasonable yet funding the court system so that it is effective and efficient.

What applications are going to be affected?

Some of the key family court applications which will see an increase in fees are as follows (not an exhaustive list):-

  1. An application for divorce, nullity or civil partnership, which will be rising from £593 to £652;
  2. An application for a parental order, which includes but is not limited to a Child Arrangements Order (CAO), parental responsibility or financial provision (Schedule 1), which will be rising from £232 to £255;
  3. An application for a contested financial remedy order, which will be rising from £275 to £303;
  4. An application for a financial remedy order by consent or a decree of judicial separation, which will be rising from £54 to £59; and
  5. General on notice applications to the Court , which will be rising from £167 to £184.

Further details of the increase in court fees can be found on the government website here.

What does this mean for our clients?

The impact of an increase in court fees on our clients can be multifaceted, concerning both their access to justice and the overall cost of legal proceedings. Clients already in the court system may not be affected. For those clients that will be affected by the change, we have considered below some of the potential impacts and consequences of the increase in fees:-

  1. Access to Justice: Higher court fees can be a barrier to accessing the legal system, particularly for individuals with limited resources who are already struggling with the current costs of living.
  2. Legal Strategy/ADR: family lawyers may need to adjust their legal strategies based on the increase in costs. This could involve putting more emphasis on negotiation and mediation as alternatives to litigation. At Ellis Jones, if appropriate, we always encourage our clients to consider ADR methods, such as arbitration, mediation, or round table meetings before engaging in the court process. These methods can be more cost-effective and faster than the traditional litigation route.

Litigation funding / Legal Aid: There may be a greater reliance on litigation financing options or legal aid services to cover the costs of court fees. However, these resources can be limited and may not be available for all types of cases/clients. We recommend that low-income clients explore whether or not they are eligible for ‘help with fees’ before making an application to Court.

For those clients who have no choice but to engage in the court process, it is likely that the positive implications and likely outcome of engaging the Court will outweigh the 10% increase in fees.

Overall, the impact of increased court fees on clients underscores the importance of careful consideration of the individual facts and circumstances of each case, transparency with costs and a full evaluation of all available avenues for alternative dispute resolution.

How can Ellis Jones help?

If you need any assistance or advice in relation to getting a divorce, dividing your matrimonial finances and/or resolving disputes in relation to your children, please do not hesitate to get in contact with our Family Team on 01202 636223 or email

How can we help?

When you submit this form an email will be sent to the relevant department who will contact you within 48 hours. If you require urgent advice please call 01202 525333.

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