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Major Court Fee Increases Announced

Despite facing opposition from the Law Society, it looks most likely that the Government’s “enhanced fees” proposal will come into action on Monday 9 March.

Under the proposals, claims in the civil courts worth more than £10,000 will be charged at the rate of 5% of the value of the claim. This could mean a 600% rise in court fees in some instances.

The impact of these changes should not be underestimated as the current maximum fee for a claim over £250,000 is £1,720, under they new system this will rise to £10,000, an increase of over 400%.

It is thought that the increases will bring in £120m a year but critics are questioning whether such large additional costs will deter claimants and limit access to justice.

Head of litigation at Square One Law, Gillian Hulls said: “Although we were aware of the proposed plans, we didn’t expect them to be implemented until April and the new financial year. The announcement comes as a surprise and although the 9 March has not been officially confirmed, we have been working with clients to push forward any current claims to ensure they face minimum fees.”

The justice minister, Shailesh Vara, said: “Our courts play a critical role and it is vital that the principle of access to justice is preserved by a properly funded service. It is only fair that wealthy businesses and individuals fighting legal battles should pay more in fees to ease the burden on taxpayers.”

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