The government has announced proposals to increase court fees to 5% of the sum claimed, with a maximum fee cap of £10,000.
The plans were unveiled in a government publication responding to a consultation on the reform of court fees. Figures published by the Civil Justice Council reveal that a claim with the value of £190,000 will see a court fee increase of 622%. Members of the senior judiciary have expressed deep concerns as the changes are likely to have a disproportionately adverse impact on small and medium sized enterprises, and on litigants in person.
Despite widespread criticism from senior judiciary and lawyers alike, the government has shown no sign of backing down.
It was announced yesterday that the new regime will be implemented on Monday 9 March 2015. Therefore if you are contemplating litigation issuing proceedings now will avoid the enhanced fees.
However, the debate is not over, and the Law Society has issued a pre-action letter for judicial review to challenge the government’s decision. It will be interesting to hear the government’s response to the Law Society’s call for judicial review, and whether the unpopular proposal will be upheld in the run up to the general election.