The fear is mounting that the increasing cost of litigation is eroding the fundamental rights, protection and access to justice under the ECHR, exacerbated by the uncertainty of future fee increases.
Although the Government's decision not to introduce daily hearing fees for commercial cases and not to impose extremely high court fees for very large value commercial claims has been welcomed by the senior judiciary, it is now consulting on a £75 increase on the fee paid by landlords and mortgage lenders for recovery of land. It is also seeking to increase fees for general applications by up to £100.
Senior judges have expressed deep concerns about dramatic increases of up to 600% in court fees. The government announced on Friday that the fee for issuing a money claim worth more than £10,000 will be increased to 5% of the sum claimed, subject to a maximum fee of £10,000. Calculations published by the civil justice council, which brings together judges and court users, indicate that court fees on a claim worth £200,000 will go up by £8,725. A claim worth slightly less than that figure will cost more than six times as much in court fees as it does now. Although very high-value litigation is unlikely to be deterred, the council adds, “the fee will be seen, by international standards, as a high entry price to begin a commercial case in this jurisdiction”.