Proposed rise in Court fees: Striking a Balance for the Balance of Justice
For some time, the Government has been looking into how best to reform funding of the civil court system, which currently runs at around a £120 million shortfall. The problem that the Ministry of Justice faces is how to recoup some of that shortfall, without hindering access to justice or putting off potential litigants who instead, could chose an alternate jurisdiction within which to have their disputes heard.
The current proposal is for Court fees to rise. For example; in a money claim over £10,000, fees are proposed to be 5% of the sum being claimed, capped at a maximum of £10,000. This would see the cost of litigation in this county rising to 25 – 100% more than New York, although would remain cheaper than Singapore or Dubai and roughly on a par with Australia.
Some of the most senior judges in England and Wales have heavily criticised the proposals, including the Lord Chief Justice who considered that potential fees of £7,500 on a case worth £150,000 would have a disproportionately adverse affect on Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Thankfully, the current proposal has been watered down from initial suggestions to charge an additional court fee of £1,000 per day, which yielded much opposition when put out to consultation. The current proposals are still in the consultation stage and opinions can still be posted until 27 February 2015 at:
There is little doubt that the civil court fee system will change, however, what the changes will be and when they will be implemented is to be confirmed.
If you have a dispute, it is becoming apparent that bringing the matter before the Courts sooner rather than later, could see a saving in terms of fees that may be payable. Please do not hesitate to contact our dedicated team on 01202 525333.
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