The Association of Personal Lawyers (APIL) has said that the Government’s plans to increase the cost of going to court are “unacceptable”.
APIL has said that the court fee increases suggested by Ministers will have a profound impact on access to justice.
It has calculated that a claim valued at £12,000 would demand a fee increase of almost a third under the new proposed regime and that the fee for a claim of £200,000 for a serious injury would be 560% higher than it is today.
John Spencer, the President of APIL, said that the Government’s argument that fees were not a major factor in a person’s decision about whether or not to go to court was “completely disingenuous”.
“This move is bound to discourage people from making valid claims,” he said.
“And the idea that seriously injured people making higher-value claims are more likely to be able to afford the new fees is outrageous.
“The severity of an injury has nothing to do with the injured person’s capacity to pay. This new regime will dictate that some seriously-injured people will be expected to pay £10,000 up front to bring their cases to court, and many simply won’t be able to afford it.”
Spencer added that the courts operate for the public good, and should therefore be funded through taxation, with users paying a contribution towards the costs. He also reminded the Government that the judiciary and Civil Justice Council had both criticised the fee hike.
“These people do not ask to be injured,” he said.
“They are injured because someone else is negligent. To expect them, on top of all that, to pay a court fee which represents more than the actual cost of the service is simply unacceptable.”