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Published 4 May 2021
The Ministry of Justice have opened a public consultation which ends on 17 May 2021, proposing to increase a number of selected court fees as well as the ‘help with fees income thresholds’ to account for inflation.
The Ministry of Justice has advised that the income received from court fees covers less than half the cost of running the courts and tribunal system with the remainder of the cost being subsidised from taxpayers. The proposal aims to increase some court fees in line with historical inflation dating from August 2016 to April 2021 which, whilst not removing the need for the taxpayer to subsidise the system in part, is expected to reduce the taxpayer contribution overall.
The Ministry of Justice estimates that if the proposals are ratified, the increased fees will raise an additional net income of about £11-17m per annum after fee remissions.
In terms of the application of this proposal to civil court fees, the increases that are most likely to affect those bringing or defending personal injury claims are as follows:
1. The Part 8 Claim issue fee is set to rise from £308 to £332.2. An increase to the hearing fee on a multi-track case from £1,090 to £1,174.3. An increase to the standard application fee from £255 to £275.4. An increase to the fee for a consent order from £100 to £108. 5. Proposed increases to the hearing fee on small claims track cases (the fee is dependent upon the value of the claim within that track).6. The fee payable on commencing detailed assessment of costs will increase (again, dependent upon the value of the costs claimed) with costs claimed up to £15,000 increasing from £369 to £397 and at the other end of the scale, for costs mover £500,000, the fee increases by £475 to £6,635.
According to the Ministry of Justice, as at December 2020, civil justice actions remain below pre-COVID-19 levels. For the period October 2020 to December 2020 County Court claims were down 16% on the same period in 2019. Personal injury claims fell by 10% to 24,000 during this period. It is therefore no surprise that the Ministry of Justice have started to focus on fee changes now. Given the increasing stretch on public finances, and with claim volumes having fallen in 2020, these proposed increases are expected to be ratified.
Practitioners will need to factor in these potential increases when considering reserves for cases which are unlikely to litigate until the end of 2021. Alternatively, for those cases which are currently within litigation and are likely to be affected by these proposed costs increases, reserves will need to be reviewed if/when these increases are ratified.
For more information or advice, please contact one or our experts in our casualty injury team.
+44 (0)117 918 2108
+44 (0) 161 934 3109
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