The Law Society have issued a pre-action protocol letter of claim for judicial review of the Government’s decision to increase some Court fees by over 600%.
Some of the grounds upon which the Law Society is challenging the Government’s decision are:
(a)The new Court fees would be tantamount to “selling justice”, contrary to the principles of Magna Carta;
(b)The Government does not have the power to raise fees for the purposes of “departmental savings”;
(c)The Government has breached its own consultation principles which state that sufficient reasons must be given for any proposal to permit intelligent consideration and response;
(d)The increases are effectively a tax and the Government is proceeding without evidence to justify the increases.
The new Court fee regime is due to commence in April. Concerns have been raised that the rises will price members of the public and small businesses out of the Courts or leave them with debts they are unable to recover.
The Government has however defended the rises on the basis that it is vital that the principle of access to justice is preserved by a properly funded Court service and that wealthy businesses and individuals fighting legal battles should pay more in fees to ease the burden on taxpayers.
For more information on court fees and other litigation matters, please contact the partner at Hunters having responsibility for your legal matters, or (for new enquiries) please contact a partner in the Dispute Resolution team.