The UK Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced a public consultation on increasing selected court fees in line with historical inflation dating from August 2016 to April 2021, or from the year the fee was last amended (capped at August 2016).
The proposal is limited to fees which are under-recovering compared to the estimated cost of the service, and to fees which are enhanced so that they can legally be set above the cost of service. The impacted fees are included in the following fee orders:
- Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008 No 1054 (43 impacted fees);
- Civil Proceedings Fees Order 2008 No 1053 (67 impacted fees);
- Court of Protection Fees Order 2007 No 1745 (3 impacted fees);
- Magistrates Courts Fees Order 2008 No 1052 (20 impacted fees).
The proposed fee increases will raise an estimated additional net income of GBP11-17 million a year for HMCTS after fee remissions.
In addition to increasing fees, the government also proposes to widen access to the Help with Fees scheme. This includes raising the income thresholds in line with inflation, including the couple and child premiums, backdated to August 2016. The extended scheme is intended to benefit those who feature disproportionately among low income groups, including women, people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people and younger people.
Responses are invited by 17 May. Feedback can be submitted via an online survey using the link below, by email: [email protected], or by post to: Fees Policy Team, Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ.
STEP will continue to keep members apprised of any developments.