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Court Fees are set to increase from 30 September 2021

21 September 2021 Written by Ware & Kay Solicitors Category: Litigation

Court fees are set to increase as the government seeks more to fund the Court and Tribunal service. 

The Government launched a consultation in March 2021 on increasing selected Court fees and help with fees income threshold in line with inflation, and to backdate increases to feed by inflation to 2016 (the last year that fees were increased). It is estimated the change will raised up to £17m extra every year for HM Courts & Tribunals Service and reduce the burden on the Treasury for funding the system.

There were 89 responses to the consultation period. Respondents were split on whether they agreed with the proposal that fees should be increased periodically in line with inflation. 61% of respondents disagreed with the proposal to apply inflation (backdated to 2016 or the year the fee was last amended, if later) to selected court fees; whilst 39% of respondents agreed with this proposal. Many of the respondents who disagreed with the proposal argued that this was not the right time to increase court fees due to the impacts of Covid-19 and raised concerns that the proposed fee increases could reduce access to justice. A number of respondents who agreed with the concept of inflationary increases nevertheless noted that now, during the pandemic, may not be the right time to implement these changes.

Additionally, some respondents felt that the proposed increases were unjustifiable in relation to the quality of the service provided by HMCTS, citing concerns that the time taken to resolve a case was too slow.

Some respondents raised the topic of how HMCTS is funded, seeking increased transparency on how much of HMCTS is funded by fee payers and how much is funded by Her Majesty’s Treasury and, therefore, general taxpayers.

The majority of respondents, about 63%, felt that some of the fees included in the proposal should be removed from scope. The fees most commonly suggested for removal were: the Traffic Enforcement Centre fee (Request for an order to recover a specified road traffic debt); fees for family proceedings (including fees for divorce, and for proceedings under the Children Act 1989); Land Recovery – County Court; Bailiff fees; fees for Charging Orders and Attachment of Earnings applications.

The Ministry of Justice has said “the government believes there is a strong justification to proceed with increasing certain court fees and the Help with Fees income thresholds by inflation. The proposed increases reflect historic inflation and are therefore not an increase in real terms.” The Ministry of Justice said it appreciated that Covid-19 “has had an impact on individuals and businesses” but Help with Fees was available for those who were unemployed or receiving benefits as a result of the pandemic.

Below is a list of a select few increased fees by way of example. The full list of increased fees can be found here.

Description

Current Fee (£)

Increased Fee (from 30 September 2021) (£)

Increase Value (£)

Any other remedy (County Court)

308

332

24

Any other remedy (High Court)

528

569

41

Hearing fee: Multi track case

1,090

1,175

85

Writ of Control

66

71

5

Writ of Possession

66

71

5

Application for a Charging Order

110

118

9

Petition for Bankruptcy

280

302

22

Petition for an administration order

280

302

22

Any other Petition

280

302

22

Contact our Litigation Solicitors today

For further information, please contact Lucy Riley in the Litigation Department on York 01904 716000, Wetherby 01937 583210 or Malton 01653 692247 or email lucy.riley@warekay.co.uk.

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