On 16 January 2015, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) published the Government Response to Part 2 of the consultation on reform of Court Fees.
In its written statement, the MoJ highlights that the best way to ensure that access to justice is preserved is to ensure that the courts are properly funded. Although a £375 million investment in the courts is being made over the next five years, the MoJ states that if they are to reduce the costs of the courts to the taxpayer, the only option is to look to those who use the courts to contribute more where they can afford to do so.
The Response introduces a fee to commence proceedings for the recovery of money of 5% of the value of the claim on claims for more than £10,000, subject to a maximum fee capped at £10,000. It also states that by setting the value of claims subject to fees at this level, 90% of cases will not be affected by the fee. The maximum fee to issue proceedings will be £10,000 for a claim over £200,000. These introductions are due to come into force on 1 March 2015.
The MoJ have not proceeded with several of the consultation proposals, including not to implement the proposed increase to the fee for a divorce, or either of the options for charging higher fees for commercial proceedings.
The MoJ also seeks views on proposals for raising fee income from possession claims and general applications in civil proceedings. The deadline for responses to the consultation is 27 February 2015.