Court fee increases could make ordinary people’s legal rights ‘meaningless’


 

Amanda Crowe Cropped

Back in July we reported that the government is proposing to increase the court fee of issuing a divorce petition from £410 to £550. More recently the Law Society has reiterated concerns over this proposed increase.

The Law Society is the independent professional body for solicitors and campaigns against any proposal which might prevent access to justice for all. It has reported that the court fee rises that were introduced six months ago for various civil actions have failed to deliver any tangible improvements in the court service or helped to protect access to justice.

Jonathan Smithers, the President of the Law Society says:

“There has been no assessment of the impact of increases, just six months ago, of more than 600%. Raising the fees further may render ordinary people’s legal rights meaningless because they simply would not be able to afford to enforce them… It is wrong in principle for the courts to make a profit for government. Our members have told us that the government’s fee increases will stop people being able to bring legitimate cases, particularly people on lower incomes.”

The government maintains that, for people on low incomes, the current fee remission or exemption process will still be available, where parties can apply to the court for permission to waive or reduce the fee if they can prove they fall within the criteria for capital and income.

We still don’t know if and when this proposed increase will take effect, so watch this space for further news and updates from our family team.

Solicitors Ipswich Suffolk – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk