Following a consultation that began on 22nd March 2021, it has now been agreed that certain Court fees will be increasing from the 30th September, for the first time since 2016.
The consultation addressed both increasing Court fees and increasing Help with Fees income thresholds by inflation.
The proposal for the Court fee increase was that the fees were to be increased with historical inflation from August 2016, this would mean that the increase in fees would not relate to an increase in real terms so the increase would not be too large. The Government have advised that the fee increases will all go towards the running costs of HMCTS and will ensure the Courts and tribunals can continue to deliver access to justice for all. They have also advised that the Court fees themselves do not cover the entirety of the costs of HMCTS and that taxes still do pay the majority of costs.
There were 89 responses to the consultation with over 61% against the idea of Court fees raising with inflation. Some believed the fee increase was unjustifiable in relation to the quality of the service provided, namely that cases were resolved too slowly. On the other hand, 65% of responses agreed with inflation in the rise of Help with Fees threshold.
There are to be 129 fee increases that come into effect on the 30th September 2021. Most of the fees will increase by around 8%, for example, to apply for a hearing for a Multi-Track monetary claim, the fees will increase from £1,090.00 to £1,175.00. A General Application fee will increase from £255.00 to £275.00 and a General Application by Consent will increase from £100.00 to £108.00.
As well as an increase to many general applications, the Court fees for application for a Warrant of Possession will also increase from £121.00 to £130.00.
Examples of the fee increases under Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008 are, an application for a Divorce Petition will be increasing from £550.00 to £592.00 and an application for a Child Arrangement Order/ Parental Responsibility Order will increase from £215.00 to £232.00.
The proposal in relation to the Help with Fees threshold would mean that this would be a real term increase, with the hopes that by increasing the Help with Fees threshold, Court would still be accessible to all after the fee increase. The income threshold will be increasing as follows, a single person’s monthly income before tax will increase from £1,085.00 to £1,170.00. The couple’s premium will increase from £160.00 to £265.00 and the child premium will increase from £245.00 to £265.00.
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