Court fees across the civil and family jurisdictions are set to increase as the government seeks millions more to fund the service.
The Ministry of Justice this week opened a consultation on a plan to increase fees by around 8% across the board – including at the Court of Protection. The income threshold for receiving help with fees is also set to increase, lifting the number of people eligible.
The government proposes to increase fees in line with inflation, and to backdate increases to fees by inflation to 2016 – the last year that fees were increased. It is estimated the change will raised up to £17m extra every year for HM Courts & Tribunals Service and reduce the burden on the Treasury for funding the system.
The consultation states that court and tribunal fees brought in a net income of £724m in 2019/20 against the £2bn running costs of HMCTS. The paper added: ‘Like other government departments, the Ministry of Justice has a responsibility to assess its costs and deliver savings to reduce the cost to the taxpayer.
‘Fees are a major source of income for the MoJ and any increases to fees ultimately reduce taxpayer funding required.’
The proposal, if implemented, will come into effect in late September or early October this year. In total, 133 types of fees will increase, with tribunal fees, probate application fees and fees for judicial reviews in civil courts excluded from the changes.
Fees for filing an application for a divorce, nullity or civil partnership dissolution will increase from £550 to £592, with an application for parental order going from £215 to £232. In civil proceedings, the hearing fee for a multi track case will be £1,174, and for a small claims case the fee will be £352. The full list of proposed new fees can be found here.
The proposed monthly income threshold for court users to be eligible for help with fees will change from £1,085 to £1,165 for a single person and from £1,245 to £1,335 for a couple.
The consultation is open until 17 May.