The House of Lords has approved the government’s increase in civil court fees, which means the increase will commence on Monday 9th March – much earlier than expected.
The court fee rise is significant, it will mainly affect claims valued at £10,000 or above. For claims valued at between £10,000 and £200,000 the new court fee will be 5% of the claim value. For claims valued at in excess of £200,000 the court fee will be fixed at £10,000. By way of a comparison the highest court fee which is payable under the current rules is £1,920. This represents an increase of over 500%.
Many commentators and professionals criticised the proposals for fear that they will restrict access to justice and make the ability to have recourse judge made decisions, unaffordable. It is also a concern that the new increase in fees will affect individuals on modest incomes and SMEs tremendously hard.
Michael Slater, Head of Commercial Litigation comments “The increase in court fees effective from Monday will hit claimants with claims between £40K and £200K disproportionately hard and is likely to result in more cases being settled out of court under the Pre-Action Protocols. Of course we have been utitlising the Pre-Action Protocols since they were introduced and have reached speedy and effective settlements for clients using these Protocols for over 10 years.
We have always prided ourselves in keeping our clients ‘out of court’ because that invariably is in the clients best financial interest.”
If potential claimants want to talk about their claims and how best to avoid these fees then please contact us.