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Care Proceedings: Fees and Charges

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what plans he has to change the charging procedures for local authorities paying court fees before they can issue proceedings to take a child into care. (186765)

I have been asked to reply.

The Ministry of Justice is taking steps to minimise the administrative cost to local authorities of paying magistrates court fees (not just for care proceedings). Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) is developing a new payment system that should mean local authorities will be able to set up accounts with magistrates courts allowing them to pay all court fees incurred by single monthly or quarterly payments. In addition we are currently consulting on 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 closes on 11 March 2008.