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Government review of court and tribunal fees

The Justice Committee has decided to hold an inquiry into the effects of the introduction and levels of these fees and charges. The Committee welcomes views on any aspect of this subject, but would be particularly interested in submissions addressing any or all of the following questions:
  • How have the increased court fees and the introduction of employment tribunal fees affected access to justice? How have they affected the volume and quality of cases brought?
  • How has the court fees regime affected the competitiveness of the legal services market in England and Wales, particularly in an international context?
  • What have been the effects on defendants of the introduction of the criminal courts charge? Has the criminal courts charge been set at a reasonable and proportionate level? Is the imposition and collection of the charge practicable and, if not, how could that be rectified?
The deadline for written submissions to be made is Wednesday 30 September 2015.


Sign the petition against court fee rise

Anna Lelliott, a solicitor with Hamlins LLP, has launched a petition on to help in the fight against court fees. On the page she says:

People and business with genuine claims will be discouraged from going to court to assert their legal rights. Law Society president, Andrew Caplen has said that "the government's hikes...will price the public out of the courts and leave small businesses saddled with debts they are due but unable to afford to recover”.
The increases are likely to provide an incentive for large companies to deny liability, knowing that injured parties would not be in a position to fund expensive court fees. Finally, it will most likely lead to small business insolvency. Unpaid invoices of £10,000s or £100,000s mean cash flow and overdrafts will become even more stretched.

Support the campaign, sign the petition now:

Press release from MoJ about court fees

This press release has just been issued by the MoJ (12.30pm 5th March 2015):

From Monday 9 March there will be a change to the way fees are charged in both ‘specified’ and ‘unspecified’ money claims. This change will affect the fee to issue proceedings for the recovery of money on claims worth £10,000 or more. For these claims the new fee will be 5% of the value of the claim capped at a maximum fee of £10,000.

All customer facing IT systems have been amended to reflect this change and the changes to the systems will take effect from Monday. Those customers submitting their claim through Secure Data Transfer or Money Claims Online will continue to receive a 10% discount on their fee.

If a claim is received on or before Friday 6 March in a fit state to issue, the old fee structure will continue to apply even if the claim is issued after Monday. Any applications received prior to the fee change but returned because of an error on the form will attract the new fee if they are subsequently resubmitted after the fee change.

No fees other than those for the recovery of money on claims worth £10,000 or more will be affected.

To sign up for secure data transfer and save your clients 10% of the new court fees, CLICK HERE

To use Money Claim online, CLICK HERE

Court fees debate update - Labour fails to oppose plans

The Statutory Instrument implementing the huge increase in court fees, the draft Civil Proceedings and Family Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2015, was debated and approved by the Commons yesterday afternoon. Andy Slaughter MP, speaking for the Labour frontbench challenged the minister, Shailesh Vara MP on a number of aspects of how the proposed change in fees was formulated, and also the MoJ’s assessment of its impact. The Society's pre-action protocol letter was mentioned and Andy Slaughter even held up a copy during the debate.
However, Andy Slaughter confirmed that Labour would not oppose the SI, and he didn't put it to a vote at the end of the debate. He said that

"I do not believe that this scheme will be in operation in two years’ time. That does not mean that additional money will not be recovered: it means that I think the scheme is probably unworkable. Rather than voting against it today, I would like an undertaking from the Minister that that it will be reviewed at a very early stage in the next Parliament were he to be in government, and I also give that undertaking if Labour is in government."

Karl Turner MP, made reference to the conflict between the fee rise and a provision in Magna Carta. The SI may be debated in the House of Lords next week, but as Lord Pannick QC has tabled a motion of regret it may be delayed. I'll provide further updates when I know them


Court fees to rise to £10,000

Just when we thought that the Government couldn't do anything more to damage access to justice, Chris Grayling announces huge rises (up to 622%) in court fees for all money claims. These increases will see claims for £200,000 and above incur a £10,000 fee to issue the claim form.

Cue the rise in disbursement funding companies.

Even a fee for a modest injuries at the top of the fast track will incur a fee of £1,250. (See the CJC's response, below, for a full table of the new fees)

I would like to hear from practitioners as to how this will affect:

a) your client's ability to fund a money claim (any type not just PI)
b) your firm's ability to offer litigation services (practical examples would be useful)

I realise people will be angry but I will need practical data and concerns that I can present to the Law Society so that we can work out a way forward. It is never good enough for us to say that we are against something without explaining consequences. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Please contact me with your thoughts and concerns. Please email me directly and copy in The Law Society  Please use Court Fees as your subject so that I can ensure your email is acknowledged.

Chris Grayling's statement to parliament can be seen HERE
The Civil Justice Council's response is HERE
The reaction of the senior judiciary is HERE
The Law Society's statement is HERE


Judgment in Paul Chadwick v Estate of Lisa Clay Dec'd

The claimant was convicted of manslaughter by diminished responsibility following the brutal killing of his partner, Lisa Clay, and their 6 year old son, Joseph. The claimant sought relief under s2(2) Forfeiture Act 1982 to enable him to inherit Lisa Clay's estate.

His Honour Judge Pelling QC, sitting in the High Court at Manchester on 24th September 2014 refused the claimant's claim finding that the justice of the case did not require the effect of the rule to be modified. 

The full text of the judgment can be found here: 


Killer's claim rejected

Once in a while cases come along that remind me why I came into this job. This case (reported by the BBC and others below) was harrowing but HHJ Pelling QC gave an impeccable judgment (to follow). My colleagues and I are greatly relieved that our clients were successful. 

Here are the links to the story:


Cases bulletin: July 2014 - relief from sanctions appeals

On Friday, 5 July 2014, the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the cases of DentonDecadent Vapours and Utilise. It also provided further guidance on the operation of CPR 3.9 and the correct approach to relief from sanctions applications. The Law Society's Civil Justice Section current bulletin discusses the implications of these three important appeal hearings.


CCMCC Salford user meeting

Today is the meeting of the CCMCC, Salford Business Centre, Usergroup. Please let me know if you have any issues that you would like me to raise.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

My slides from Civil Justice Section conference

As promised to delegates at the Law Society's Civil Justice Section, here is a link to the slides from my presentation: