Government response to proposals for enhanced court fees
On 22 July 2015, the Government published its response to the proposals for enhanced court fees in possession claims and general applications in civil proceedings.
The proposals for fee increases to possession claims and general applications were consulted on in a document published on 16 January 2015. In that consultation, the Government announced its intention to introduce enhanced fees in claims for the recovery of money and these fees came into effect on 9 March 2015.
The consultation on proposals to introduce enhanced fees in possession claims and general applications ran from 16 January to 27 February 2015 and proposed increasing court fees to enhanced levels in two categories of case, as follows:
Click here to view table.
A total of 248 responses to the consultation paper were received and unsurprisingly the majority of respondents to the consultation disagreed with the proposed fee increases.
A revised impact assessment has been published alongside this document and the Government has also updated its assessment of the impact of these proposals on people with protected characteristics in an Equalities Statement.
However, the Government does not accept the argument that these proposals to increase fees in possession claims and general applications will have the effect of preventing people from accessing justice.
They state “The increases proposed are moderate and, as our revised impact assessment explains, we do not anticipate that the increases will have any significant impact on demand. The evidence suggests that these increases will not deter anyone who would otherwise have taken their claim to court."
Therefore the Government intends to proceed in implementing the above fee increases although when they will come into force is presently unconfirmed.
The Government is also consulting on further increases to the fees for recovering money where the value of the claim is greater than £200,000. The Government’s proposal is to increase the maximum fee for issuing such a claim from £10,000 to £20,000. The same fee will apply to counterclaims (out of interest, personal injury claims are excluded from the proposal).
The deadline for responses to the consultation is 15 September 2015. If this new proposal is implemented, a court fee of £20,000 may be prohibitive in terms of pursuing large claims. You may therefore wish to respond to the consultation before the deadline with your views.