Under a consultation announced yesterday by justice minister Shailesh Vara, the maximum fee for money claims would rise from £10,000 to £20,000. Currently fees are payable on 5% of the value of a claim up to a maximum of £10,000. Such measures would generate an estimated £48m a year in additional income.
Justice minister Shailesh Vara acknowledged in a letter to the chair of the commons justice committee, Robert Neill, that the fee increases were not popular however he said the courts and tribunals ‘must continue to play their part’ in the ‘national effort’ to reduce public spending, eliminate the deficit and reduce the national debt. Vara continued to say there was ‘only so much’ that could be delivered through efficiency measures. Despite the fees introduced, Vara said HMCTS still cost £1bn more a year to run than it received in income.
Personal injury and clinical negligence claims will be excluded from the higher cap and fee remissions for those ‘of limited means’ will still apply.
Fees would be introduced to the property, tax and general regulatory chambers.
In the property tribunal, the ministry is proposing fees at low levels for the majority of applications, while setting higher fees for leasehold enfranchisement cases ‘where there are often large sums of money at stake’.
Immigration and asylum chamber fees would double, with exemptions ‘to protect the most vulnerable’. There would also be a ‘general uplift’ of 10% to a ‘wide range’ of fees in civil proceedings.
The MoJ consultation will close on 15 September.