Access to Justice Threat From Increased Fees for General Applications
Following the Governments recent announcement that it will increase issue fees above full cost, the latest consultation proposes that fees for general applications in civil proceedings should be increased. The fees would rise from £50.00 to £100.00 for an application without notice or by consent, and from £155.00 to £255.00 for an application on notice which is contested.
These fees are payable to the Court to apply to the Court for relief in a case. Increased fees will hinder people’s ability to take on cases and make applications to the Court. Furthermore applications play an important part in the proper and proportionate administration of justice. The purpose of many applications is to draw the Court’s attention to a party in default of an Order requiring them to take a positive step to advance the case. For example to provide disclosure of documents or exchange witness statements. Another example is to make an application for an interim payment to pay for treatment or rehabilitation costs. A further example is an application to the Court for an injunction to restrain domestic violence.
Clarkson Hirst Solicitors oppose the increase in Court fees as it represents a further step to make access to justice more difficult to those who perhaps do not qualify for fee exemption due to being on benefits or low income or do not have high disposable incomes. I feel that people who wish to obtain redress from the Courts who are working people on average incomes will be the most affected by these changes.
Matthew Winder is a Senior Litigator member of the APIL and is based at our Lancaster, Kendal and Barrow offices. He specialises in civil litigation and property law.