The Government issued a public consultation on 22 March 2021. The Ministry of Justice is consulting on increasing some court fees in line with historical inflation dating from August 2016 to April 2021, or from the year the fee was last amended (capped at August 2016). The proposal is limited to fees which are under-recovering compared to the estimated cost of the service and to fees which are enhanced, meaning they can legally be set above the cost of service. The impacted fees are included in the following fee orders:
• Family Proceedings Fees Order 2008 No 1054 (43 impacted fees);
• Civil Proceedings Fees Order 2008 No 1053 (67 impacted fees);
• Court of Protection Fees Order 2007 No 1745 (3 impacted fees); and
• Magistrates Courts Fees Order 2008 No 1052 (20 impacted fees).
At the same time as increasing fees, the Government is also proposing to widen access to the Help with Fees scheme and make it more generous. This proposal includes inflationary uplifts to the income thresholds, including the couple and child premiums, in the Help with Fees scheme, backdated to August 2016. The proposal will widen access to and increase the generosity of the Help with Fees scheme. In particular, the extended scheme will benefit women, people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people and younger people, who all feature disproportionately among low income groups.
The proposed fee increases will raise an estimated additional net income of £11-£17 million a year for HMCTS after fee remissions, including the proposed changes to Help with Fees, are applied. This will help to ensure HMCTS continues to have the necessary funding to complete its much needed and important activities. Given the current economic uncertainty and the difficulty in forecasting rates of inflation accurately at this time, the figures included in this proposal are indicative and will be revised, based on actuals, prior to the implementation of the revised fee. Therefore, this estimated income is subject to change.
Responses are welcomed from anyone with an interest in or views on the subject covered by this consultation. The full consultation is available at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/increasing-selected-court-fees-income-thresholds. Responses are required by the 17th May and can be submitted via an online survey using the link above, via email: email@example.com, or by post to: Fees Policy Team, Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ.
Any questions regarding this consultation can be addressed to the Ministry of Justice Fees Policy Team (firstname.lastname@example.org).