Rising Court Fees
The government has just published plans to increase court fees for money claims. A short consultation period has also commenced regarding a proposed £75 increase in the fee to make a possession claim.
Initially there had also been proposals for higher fees in other areas, including divorce, but fortunately the government has decided against this.
The last increase in court fees was in April 2014 and saw significant increases in some areas. For example, the fee to issue a money claim of £5,000 – £15,000 almost doubled from £245 to £455, and the fee for a claim between £15,000 and £50,000 rose from £395 to £610. In possession claims the fee rose significantly from £175 to £280, the biggest single increase in this fee for more than 25 years, if not ever.
Under the proposed new fee regime, if the money claim is below £10,000 (which around 90% of claims are) then the court fees remain the same. For those above £10,000 the court fee will be 5% of the value of the claim – although this is capped at a fee of £10,000 for a £200,000 claim. There will be a 10% discount on fees for claims started via Money Claims On-Line (MCOL).
If implemented, the changes would mean an increase in the fee to issue a possession claim rising to £355.
Concerns have been raised in some quarters as to the potential impact of these rises. In money cases, the impact will only be felt by the 10% looking to recover sums above £10,000. However, some, including senior members of the judiciary, believe that it will lead to an increase in litigants in person as people will go without legal representation to pay for the fees.
Certainly for landlords seeking to evict tenants from their property the rise will present an unwelcome added burden, particularly so soon after the significant rise in the fee just nine months ago. However having sufficient legal representation is crucial to achieve the result you deserve. If you are a landlord needing support, call Philip Oke on 01752 203500 or email Philip.oke@GAsolicitors.com.