In the Media

CJC blasts proposed court fee hikes

PUBLISHED February 14, 2014

The Civil Justice Council (CJC) has warned of the 'chilling effect' on access to justice of 'wholly excessive' fee increases proposed for judicial review cases. Responding to the Ministry of Justice consultation on court fee reforms, the CJC also suggests that setting the fee for issuing specified money claims at a percentage of the claim represents a 'tax on litigation'. The Council, chaired by master of the rolls Lord Dyson (pictured)  to promote the needs of civil justice, points to inconsistencies in the price rises proposed to raise the courts' fee income by £625m. It notes the proposals range from an 81% increase for middle of the range money claims, to a 12% increase for fee cases exceeding £300,000 in value. Some of the proposed increases are 'immense', it declares, citing the 140% increase for issue fees for online county court money claims and a 114% increase in bankruptcy and insolvency applications. The proposed 216% increase - from £215 to £680 - for judicial review permission to appeal applications, the Council brands 'wholly excessive', warning it will deter 'many' from bringing legitimate claims. It suggests the fee increase will generate only a small sum, as in 2011 over 77% of such applications were for immigration and asylum cases, which would be exempted from paying fees through the remissions schemes.