Court Fees Rise
Following the increase last March in Civil Court Costs, which faced criticism from legal figures and campaigners alike, the Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson has told MPs that the changes risk denying access to justice to people on modest incomes and small businesses.
Lord Dyson recently said that the enhanced fees “excited the opposition” and further said, “I’m afraid that the risk of denying access to justice to a lot of people is so intense in those proposals”. The comments follow the controversial changes implemented last March to raise the fee to issue proceedings of money to 5% of the value of all claims over £10,000. Lord Dyson was “particularly concerned” about those on modest incomes who do not qualify for help from fee remissions and as such “would be inevitably deterred from litigating”.
Lord Dyson also expressed concern for small and medium businesses. The very businesses encouraged by the government and thought to be providing growth to the country, now face substantial increases in fees when, for instance, seeking to recover small or reasonable sums from debtors.
When the fee increases were announced, ministers insisted that the majority of claims below £10,000 would be unaffected, and charges were capped at £10,000.
By Jason Green - Senior Negotiator