A dramatic hike in court fees is to take place on Monday 9th March 2015. The Law Society has published the following table (see below) of the new court fees suggesting solicitors consider issuing cases this week.
Employment Tribunal fees were increased in July 2013 and the effect is thought to have been to reduce the number of tribunal claims substantially. It remains to be seen whether the increase of court fees will have the same effect.
The move will inevitably raise questions as to whether access to justice is being made more difficult. It may also sharpen the debate about whether our legal system should be funded by society as a whole or simply by its users: is the civil justice system simply about settling disputes between individuals or does it benefit all of society to the extent that it should be funded overwhelmingly by the state? Is it just a questions of degree?
The Law Society has sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Minister of Justice and it will be interesting to see how it puts its arguments if the matter reaches a hearing.
Court fees increase from Monday 9 March
Government increases in some civil court fees are due to come into effect on Monday 9 March.
The increases affect money claims – both ‘specified’ and ‘unspecified’.
The Law Society, with other legal professional bodies, has criticised the fee increases and has sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Ministry of Justice.
Firms may wish to consider whether they should issue claims this week in order to avoid the increase.
Example fee increases: