Money claims in the courts are expected to dramatically decrease as the Government increases some civil court fees by over 600% from Monday 9 March. These increases will affect both ‘specified’ (claims for a specified amount) and ‘unspecified’ money claims.
The Law Society has heavily criticised the fee increases, believing they will have a detrimental effect on legal practitioners, consumers and small businesses alike.
In order to issue proceedings a court fee is payable depending on the value of the money claim. Whilst small claims of up to £9,999 remain unchanged, a claim of up to £19,999 currently attracts a fee of £610 which is set to increase to £1,000 – up 64%. As the value of the money claim increases so does the new fee increase with a claim of under £190,000 soon to cost 622% more (a rise from £1,315 to £9,500).
The table below sets out some more examples of the increases:
|Claim value £||Current fee £||New fee £||Increase £||Increase %|
“The new fees will deter many consumers and small businesses making legitimate claims due to the inflated court costs which seems unfair as justice should be accessible to all” comments Stephen Eccles, Head of Dispute Resolution at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors. “Lawyers will also have to look to alternative dispute resolution to deal with many more cases.”
The Government is also consulting on fee increases for possession claims, applications without notice or consent and application on notice with consent. These have also been criticised by The Law Society who have sent a pre-action protocol letter to the Ministry of Justice to challenge the move. They are encouraging members to lobby local MPs and the proposals will also be debated in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
It will soon be common practice to explore ADR to see if a sensible settlement can be negotiated between the parties to avoid the possible need for time consuming, complicated and costly litigation.
The Dispute Resolution Department at Pinney Talfourd Solicitors are well trained and experienced in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
ADR methods include:
If you would like to issue a money claim please contact our Dispute Resolution department to discuss your most cost effective options. In many cases, court is not your only option.