On 19 December 2007, the Ministry of Justice published a Consultation Paper, which sets out proposals to increase court fees paid by public authorities in child care and adoption proceedings to reflect the full cost of the process.
The Consultation Paper sets out the need to transfer responsibility for meeting the full cost of these court proceedings from Her Majesty’s Courts Service to the authorities that initiate the cases. This reflects the Government’s general fee-charging policy, which is intended to provide greater visibility, of and accountability for, the cost of providing services.
Specifically, the proposals in the consultation would:
Increase fees for child care proceedings to reflect the average cost of over £4,000, and introduce a simple incremental payment system so less complex cases requiring fewer hearings would pay less;
Increase adoption fees paid by public authorities to reflect the full cost of around £400.
These proposals will only affect fees paid by public bodies and not individuals. Applications by parents in care and adoption proceedings will remain unchanged.
Copies of the Consultation Paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and can be obtained free on the Ministry’s website at the following web address: www.justice.gov.uk/publications/consultations.htm
The closing date for consultation is 11 March 2008.