There has been a surprisingly muted backlash from the decision to increase court fees by up to 622%, following little consultation with the profession. It should be remembered that this is a fee for an administrative process – that is, sealing and serving the particulars of claim. It does not include other court fees such as hearing fees.
The increases are completely unjustifiable. For example, the fee for a claim of £190,000 has increased from £1,315 to £9,500, and the fee for a claim of £200,000 has increased from £1,515 to £10,000. These are increases of 622% and 576% respectively.
Imagine a scenario where a small business or an individual has a claim for unpaid invoices amounting to £200,000. Just to obtain a default judgment on the invoices, which would involve no input from judges, would now cost the client in excess of £10,000.
This is going to put immense pressure on would-be litigants to settle at a much lower sum, because few businesses or individuals have these sorts of sums readily available from petty cash.
It is a charter for defaulters.
The increases are draconian, ill thought-out, unjust and thoroughly misguided.
Peter Hatvany, partner, head of litigation, Parker Bullen, Salisbury, Wiltshire