Court Fees to increase from 9 March 2015 - DAC Beachcroft

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Court Fees to increase from 9 March 2015

Published On: 5 March 2015

The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has announced increases to the court fees charged on civil claims issued on or after 9 March 2015.

The new fees which apply to money claims will be as follows:

  • Claims valued at £1 - £9,999 will remain unchanged;
  • Claims valued at £10,000 - £199,000 will be 5% of the claim; and
  • Claims of £200,000 or more will be capped at £10,000 (the current maximum is £1,920).

Value of claim

up to £

Fee now

£

Fee proposed

 £

Increase in fee

 £

Increase

 

15,000

610

750

140

23%

20,000

610

1000

390

64%

25,000

610

1250

640

105%

30,000

610

1500

890

146%

40,000

610

2000

1390

228%

50,000

910

2500

1590

174%

70,000

910

3500

2590

285%

90,000

910

4500

3590

395%

100,000

1115

5000

3885

348%

125,000

1115

6250

5135

460%

150,000

1315

7500

6185

470%

175,000

1315

8750

7435

565%

190,000

1315

9500

8185

622%

200,000

1515

10,000

8725

576%

250,000

1720

10,000

8280

481%

500,000

1920

10,000

8080

421%

The increases have been controversial and opposed by many professional associations including The Law Society, The London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA), the Bar Council, the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL) and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). On 22 February 2015, The Law Society issued a pre-action letter seeking judicial review of the MOJ's decision, and this challenge is ongoing.

Opponents have argued that litigation will be prohibitively expensive for many private individuals and small and medium sized businesses, that the enhanced fees will lead to a substantial front loading of costs in the litigation process, and the fee rises go beyond what is necessary for the civil courts to be self-funding. Some have also raised concerns that the rises will make the English courts, and particularly London which is a leading centre for commercial dispute resolution, less attractive to domestic and international court-users, and that parties may look to other jurisdictions to resolve their disputes.

For defendants and their insurers, the impact of the fee rises could produce two effects. If opponents of the fee rises are correct, then there will be a reduction in the number of claims being litigated generally, and this reduction may off-set or dilute the impact of the enhanced fees incurred in litigated claims where insurers do pay out. Claimants may be also more willing to engage in early, pre-action settlement discussions in appropriate cases to avoid incurring the court fees altogether. Some claimant firms will however simply maintain their aggressive litigation policy and hope to ride out the adverse cash flow consequences, secure in the knowledge that the higher court fees will be met by defendant insurers and have to be passed on to policyholders.

One thing is clear. The effect of these changes will be immediate, applying to any proceedings issued from Monday 9 March onwards, and in marked contrast to the pace at which other reforms filter through to the bottom line.

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