Having only just adjusted to the increases under the Civil Proceedings Fees (Amendment No 2) Order 2013 which came into force in July last year, it appears the Ministry of Justice continue to dissuade litigants by a further increase in fees which came into effect on 22nd April 2014 under the Civil Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2014.
The approach being taken is that the recovery for the costs of litigating will be through increased court fees, which are then transferred to the losing party as costs.
The legal industry has already felt the plunge from legal aid cuts under the recent Jackson Reforms which makes it tougher for litigants to acquire the legal advice they should be entitled to receive. The increase in fees only seeks to add to the burden upon litigants who already find it difficult to access their right to justice.
Although only a small number of fees have been revised the focus remains on the surge in costs of issuing legal proceedings. In particular the fee for general applications without notice has only increased by a slight amount from £45 to £50. However, for applications on notice where a hearing is usually required there is an extortionate increase from £80 to £155, which is virtually double the previous fee.
Another key increase concerns the fees for applying for judicial review which has risen from £60 to £135. Further, the costs for permission to proceed have soared from £215 to £680.
The outcome? Wealthy individuals and corporate parties will be able to afford litigating and the less fortunate will have to raise the money or else close the book…