Divorce Petition Fee set to increase to £550

Amanda Crowe Cropped

In 2014 the government conducted a consultation into whether there should be some reform to the level of court fees in England and Wales for civil and family matters. For many years, users have been charged fees to access the civil court system, which includes all civil, family and probate jurisdictions, as well as the Court of Protection and the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). The consultation closed on 21 January 2014 and the Government have been carefully considering the responses.

Most respondents to the consultation did not agree with the Government’s proposal to raise  the court fee for submitting a divorce petition. The fee is currently £410 and must be paid upfront by the Petitioner. As part of this consultation the Government were considering whether to raise the fee to £750.

This proposal attracted the highest level of criticism among respondents to the consultation with respondents stating that a rise in the fee would be seen to be excessive and could deter people from seeking a divorce. Respondents also believed that it was wrong in principle to seek to increase the cost of court proceedings associated with the breakdown of a family relationship and that the consultation had advanced no persuasive justification for increasing the fee. As a result, the Government announced in January 2015 that there will be no rise to the court fee for submitting a petition.

However, the latest response to the consultation and concerns comes from the Ministry of Justice. It has now decided an increase in the court fee of a third is more affordable and so the divorce petition fee of £410 is set to rise to £550. However, the MoJ were keen to stress there will still be a fee remission for the most vulnerable, such as a spouse who lives  in a low wage household.

Amanda Erskine is a solicitor in 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