January 28, 2014

Support for vulnerable women and taxpayers in court fees changes

Individuals taking high value cases through civil courts in England and Wales can expect to pay much more towards their running costs, while the fees for domestic violence injunctions are to be discarded.

Changes to the fees charged for using civil courts mean that taxpayers will no longer be left to pay so much of the bill for operating them. Currently, around £100m of running costs have to be found from general taxes every year.

Under the new proposals put out for consultation, the fees for civil courts (not criminal courts) will be adjusted to address the shortfall.

The proposals include:

  • Removing the £75 application fee for domestic violence injunctions - helping thousands of women seeking non-molestation and occupation orders.
  • Increasing the fees for cases involving claims for money, such as compensation, on a sliding scale, with a maximum fee of £1,870 - and considering moving in future to a system where the fee is calculated as a percentage of the amount under dispute in the court case.
  • Introducing a percentage-based system for commercial proceedings (where businesses dispute whether a contract has been fulfilled and seek settlements) as well as charging a daily rate for the time they spend in court.
  • Introducing a standard fee of £270 for civil cases which are not about claims for money (applying for someone to be declared insolvent or to repossess property for example) - instead of the current mixture of fees.

Fees would remain the same for cases involving sensitive family issues including child contact, divorce, financial disputes and adoption applications - as well as a reduction in the fee for local authorities to apply to take a child into care.

The consultation will run until 21 January 2014 and changes to the fees, depending on the outcome of the consultation, are expected in Spring and Summer 2014.

Our family law specialists at Royds are supported by experienced secretarial and paralegal staff who all work together to provide you with the best service, this includes providing advice on payment of court fees.

Speak to a family solicitor if you require further information.

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