With the speed of the fanatic, the Government has confirmed a massive rise in the cost of civil litigation with effect from next Monday March 9th, rather earlier than originally announced.
According to the Law Society, whose table is reproduced below, some civil court fees will rise by 622% and even the smallest increase is 64% so that a claimant bringing a money claim valued at £20000 must now find £1000 in order to issue proceedings.
Access to Justice this is not!
I feel sure that when Lord Woolf published “Access to Justice” he did not have in mind a draconian increase in fees the effect of which is to drive all but the richest litigants from the courts. It goes to show that not everything can be reduced to mere numbers by the bean counters in our society.
While some advisers have been hurrying to beat the rises by issuing proceedings this week, the remainder will have to put up with it.
Of course, they could opt for mediation or other forms of dispute resolution. I doubt that was what the Government had in mind but it may be a blessing in disguise for litigants and mediators alike.
|Value of claim £||Fee now £ (paper)||New fee £||Increase in fee £||% increase|