Court fee hike imminent

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Court fee rises, which will result in a 5% levy on all claims valued between £10,000 and £200,000, are expected to be introduced from 9 March.

The news that the increases will come in next week was reported by The Law Society Gazette, which said that implementation could accelerate plans for a judicial review over the matter. The Law Society has already issued a pre-action protocol letter to obtain a judicial review.

The decision to go ahead with raising fees follows a December 2013 consultation on proposals to increase court fees in a number of areas, including money claims (specified and unspecified), commercial proceedings, hearings (fast and non-fast track) and divorce proceedings.

If the rises go through, then a claim worth £20,000 will see its fees increase by 64% while one at £150,000 would have a fee inflation of 470%.

The Law Society has said that it was extremely concerned about the proposals, which it said would “have a detrimental effect on our members, consumers and small businesses”.

Back in January, the President of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), John Spencer, said that the Government’s assertion that fees were not a major factor in a person’s decision about whether or not to go to court, were “completely disingenuous”.

“This move is bound to discourage people from making valid claims – people who have every right to make them. And the idea that seriously injured people making higher-value claims are more likely to be able to afford the new fees is outrageous,” he said at the time.

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk