Government announces planned increase in court fees

Despite a recent Court Service consultation where 61% of respondents opposed an increase in Court fees, the Government is determined to press ahead with a widespread inflationary increase. This, despite the impact of Covid-19 and countrywide complaints about the quality of the service provided by the Courts.

The Government stated that: “The proposed increases reflect historic inflation and are, therefore, not an increase in real terms. The income generated from these proposals will go towards the running costs of HMCTS and will ensure that the Courts and Tribunals can continue to deliver access to justice for all”.

The Government’s response to the impact of Covid-19 has been to extend thresholds for offering reduced fees to low-income families. The Government insisted that the increased costs were only intended to cover rising costs in producing the service and were not designed to make a profit from Court users.

The proposed changes will increase Court Services’ revenue by approximately £23M to £29M per year (£20m to £25M allowing for fee remissions).

The new rules are intended to apply from this Autumn. The fee for issuing an application for a divorce or civil partnership dissolution will increase from £550 to £592 with an application for an Order in respect of children increasing from £215 to £232. Court users with a monthly income of £1,170 for a single person and £1,345 for a couple will be eligible for help with those fees (increasing from £1,085 for a single person and £1,245 for a couple).

Historically, increases in Court fees have been issued at very short notice allowing little time for proposed litigants to issue proceedings more speedily to avoid any increases.

For further information as to how this might affect you, please contact a member of our Family Team.

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