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Civil Court Fees

Volume 603: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2015

16. What assessment he has made of the effect on court users of recent changes in civil court fees. (902609)

The Government are monitoring data on case loads and fee income from the civil courts, but it is too early to draw any firm conclusions. We will continue to keep the impact of fee changes under review. We recognise that fee increases are not popular, but at every stage we have sought to protect the most vulnerable by ensuring that they will not have to pay new and higher fees. In the current financial climate, it is only right that we are considering every option to raise fees to meet the budgetary challenges that we face.

In March 2015, the court issue fee for a £200,000 claim was raised by more than 600%, from £1,500 to £10,000. Does the Minister appreciate the impact of that on small start-up companies, of which there are many in my constituency, and will he assure those companies that there will be no further rise after the current consultation?

It is important for the hon. Gentleman to recognise that the court system needs to be properly funded. However, we have a very effective remission system, and those who cannot afford the fees do not have to pay them. He should also bear in mind that court fees amount to a tiny fraction of the total amount of legal fees that are incurred.