March 2015 saw the last increase in court fees and the introduction of a court issue fee of 5% of the value of the claim, up to a maximum cap of £10,000. The new consultation proposes raising this cap to at least £20,000.
Although it appears, for the moment at least, there is no proposal to increase the court issue fees for smaller claims, the MOJ is also proposing an increase to a wide range of fees for civil proceedings, which will impact those using the courts for debt recovery.
Included with the proposal, the fees for general applications in civil proceedings will increase by £50 to £100, for an application by consent and from £155 to £255 for a contested application.
The fees for issuing a possession claim in the county court will also increase by £75, from £280 to £355.
The MOJ said it`s analysis suggests the proposed increase "will not deter anyone who would otherwise have taken their claim to court".
However, Paul Davies from the debt collection agency, Debtcol, does not agree. “Only last week the figures released by Registry Trust Limited showed the number of County Court Judgments was down for the 6th year in a row. There is no doubt in my mind that whilst the economy has improved, the number of people using the court system has reduced as a result of the increase in court fees. I believe that these further increases will prove prohibitively expensive, deny individuals and small businesses access to justice and preventing them from recovering monies owed to them."
The increases in civil fees suggested, together with the proposed increase in divorce fees, are likely to come into force later this year and are expected to generate an extra £60 million a year.
Paul Davies went on to say “I have no doubt these increases are going ahead, just as they did in March, despite the fact that the majority of respondents to the consultation disagreed with the proposed fee increases”.
If you would like to participate in the consultation, you can do so here. The closing date is 15th September 2015.
For more information on the proposed increases or advice on debt collection please speak to us.