Plans to increase the maximum fee for money claims in Courts from £10,000 to at least £20,000 have been unveiled by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), not long after more fee hikes were suggested earlier this year.
The plans are part of two consultations that aim to ensure the courts system is properly funded. According to Courts Minister Shailesh Vara, available evidence suggests that this increase will “not deter anyone who would otherwise have taken their claim to court”. He added that despite the fees already introduced, the courts and tribunals service still costs £1bn a year more to run than it receives in income.
In addition, he said that the proposed hike to £20,000 would only affect claims worth at least £200,000, which are generally brought by large multi-nationals or very wealthy individuals, who, the department believes, can afford to pay more.
There are 1.2 million money claims each year and only 5,000 of these will be affected by the rise, amounting to only 0.4 per cent of the total, or one in every 240 money claims. Fees are currently payable on 5 per cent of the value of a claim, up to a maximum fee of £10,000.
There are wide-reaching changes across the two consultations, including 10 per cent fee increases for various civil proceedings. In addition, there are confirmations to go ahead with proposals announced earlier this year, one of which is that fees for issuing a possession claim in the county court will rise from £280 to £355.
In addition, fees for general applications in civil proceedings will increase from £50 to £100 for an application by consent, and from £155 to £255 for a contested application. It is also proposed to increase the fees for general applications in civil proceedings by £50, from £50 to £100, for an application by consent and by £100, from £155 to £255, for a contested application.