12 June 2015 by

Can you afford Justice?

On 9 March 2015 the government increased court fees in England and Wales dramatically.

Previously the maximum fee a litigant would have to pay to issue a claim was £1,720.  That has now increased to £10,000 for claims worth £200,000 or more.  The table below shows the changes.

Value of claim £ Old Fee £ New fee £ % increase
40,000 610 2,000 228%
90,000 910 4,500 395%
150,000 1,315 7,500 470%
190,000 1,315 9,500 622%
200,000 1,515 10,000 576%

 

Legal commentators have warned that the fee increase will have a disproportionately adverse effect on small and medium-sized enterprises and individuals who may struggle to fund the increased court fees.

The Law Society has threatened to bring judicial review proceedings to challenge the validity of the fee increase!

The Judiciary is concerned that the fee hike will be a barrier to access to justice and that litigants will stop instructing solicitors, spending their money on the increased court fees instead.  If that happens it is likely that more court time will be spent dealing with procedural and housekeeping issues which would usually have been dealt with by a solicitor ….this could lead to delays.

The former Attorney General, Chris Grayling, stated that he would keep the fee position under review.  Will the incoming reformist Attorney General, Michael Gove, tinker with the fee system to address the concerns mentioned above?  He has been charged with delivering “faster and fairer access to justice”…so watch this space!

At Bolt Burdon we help our clients reach commercial compromises to their business problems with a view to keeping costs proportionate.   If court proceedings are required we consider innovative funding arrangements with our clients.  For more information on this please contact Tom Lawrence on tomlawrence@boltburdon.co.uk or 020 7288 4769.

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