A wide ranging reform to the court fees system was implemented by the Ministry of Justice as of 22 April 2014.
There will be an increase of 81% for fees for compensation claims of values between £5,000 and £10,000 which are up from £245 to £445, and £200 will be added to fees for all cases up to £300,000. Fees are capped at £1,870 and cases involving smaller sums will either be frozen, or increased at a smaller rate.
Claims which do not involve money, such as petitioning court for someone to be declared insolvent or to repossess a property are now subject to a standard court fee of £280, replacing the mixture of different fees which were previously charged.
There has been no change in fees involving sensitive or family issues such as child contact cases, divorce settlements or disputes and applications for adoption. Fees paid by Local Authorities when they apply to court for permission to take a child into care have actually been reduced.
More than 20,000 applications were made to court in 2012 for domestic violence injunctions, occupation orders and non-molestation order, and the previous £75 application fee for these has now been abolished. Changes to the legal fees were introduced after a consultation period warnings against any changes by groups such as the Law Society and the Civil Justice Council [an Advisory Public Body responsible for the oversight and co-ordination of the modernisation of the civil justice system]..
A spokesperson for the government stated that changes to fees had been introduced as an attempt to make sure that those using civil courts are not being subsidised by the taxpayer and to ensure that fees are a proper reflection of the costs involved with providing the service. During the consultation process, the Civil Justice Council issued a warning about the “chilling effect” of fee increases on access to justice.
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