On 16 January 2015, the Ministry of Justice published the government's response to part 2 of the consultation on reform of court fees. Issue fees for money claims to recover more than £10,000 will rise to 5% of the value of the claim, up to a maximum of £10,000. The Government estimates that these reforms will raise additional income worth £120 million per annum. Others feel that the steep fee increases have the potential to deter parties from bringing their disputes to court.

What will change?

Click here to view the table.

When will the new fees take effect?

The Government hopes to give effect to these changes before the beginning of the 2015/2016 parliamentary session.

Practical Implications

  • Bigger upfront costs may deter individuals and small to medium-sized business from litigating.
  • There may be a flurry of claims issued over the coming months with claimants trying to avoid the higher court fees.
  • Early settlement: parties in smaller cases may be more likely to settle before proceedings issued.
  • ADR may prove more attractive in medium sized claims.
  • Possible increase in the numbers of self-represented litigants aiming to cut litigation costs.
  • When deciding costs, defendants may seek to argue that an over-valued claim led to a high issue fee.
  • Impact upon the cash-flow of smaller firms that fund their client's court fees.
  • Increase in the number of claims being initiated electronically: discounts of 10% will apply where the claim is initiated using the Secure Data Transfer facility or Money Claims Online.

Next steps

The Government seeks views on further proposals for raising fee income from possession claims and general applications in civil proceedings. The deadline for providing responses to the further consultation is 27 February 2015.