Increase in court fees for legal actions

Increase in court fees for legal actions

Published:

Author: Richard Lester

After the implementation of the Civil Proceedings Fees (Amendment) Order 2014, the government has decided to increase a number of the court fees payable from 22nd April 2014.

Reason for decision to increase

For legal action to be effective, it relies on the existence of a fully effective court system where all users will benefit from the whole court infrastructure - even if their case is resolved quickly. Following a consultation, the government's new approach to apportioning costs will ensure all court users make a fair contribution towards the indirect costs of running the courts, reflecting the way the courts operate today and in the future.

The fact that higher fees would be passed on to the debtor was highlighted in some consultation responses. The government considered it appropriate to recover the cost of these proceedings through fees, and as such, it is unavoidable that the higher fees will be transferred to the losing party in the form of costs. If a creditor incurs those costs through being forced to pursue a case to the courts, it is just that they should be expected to be met by the debtor.

What it means for you

Whilst the government looked at all court fees, it has only decided to increase a small number of the fees payable. The main changes for you are the increased court fees payable to start legal proceedings via the automated CCBC process, together with the increased fees for starting Insolvency actions (i.e Winding-Up and Bankruptcy). A table is shown below to demonstrate what has increased, the old court fee, the new court fee and the increase in value. The court costs for issuing legal proceedings and Insolvency actions will remain recoverable from the debtor.

Money claims via CCBC: commencement of legal proceedings issue fee

   Old Fee  New Fee Increase 
 Does not exceed £300  £15  £25  £10
 Exceeds £300 but does not exceed £500  £30  £35  £5
 Exceeds £500 but does not exceed £1,000  £55  £60  £5
 Exceeds £1,000 but does not exceed £1,500  £65  £70  £5
 Exceeds £1,500 but does not exceed £3,000  £75  £105  £30
 Exceeds £3,000 but does not exceed £5,000  £85  £185  £100
 Exceeds £5,000 but does not exceed £15,000  £190  £410  £220
 Exceeds £15,000 but does not exceed £50,000  £310  £550  £240
 Exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £100,000  £550  £815  £265

Money claims: manual commencement of legal proceedings issue fee

  Old Fee    New Fee Increase  
 Does not exceed £300  £35  £35  £0
 Exceeds £300 but does not exceed £500  £50  £50  £0
 Exceeds £500 but does not exceed £1,000    £70  £70  £0
 Exceeds £1,000 but does not exceed £1,500   £80  £80  £0
 Exceeds £1,500 but does not exceed £3,000   £95    £115  £20
 Exceeds £3,000 but does not exceed £5,000   £120  £205  £85
 Exceeds £5,000 but does not exceed £15,000   £245  £455  £210
 Exceeds £15,000 but does not exceed £50,000    £395  £610  £215
 Exceeds £50,000 but does not exceed £100,000    £685  £910  £225
 Exceeds £100,000 but does not exceed £150,000     £885  £1,115  £230
 Exceeds £150,000 but does not exceed £200,000  £1,080  £1,315  £235
 Exceeds £200,000 but does not exceed £250,000   £1,275  £1,515  £240
 Exceeds £250,000 but does not exceed £300,000  £1,475  £1,720  £245
 Exceeds £300,000, or not limited  £1,670  £1,920  £250

Other

   Old Fee  New Fee Increase
General Application Fees (Without Hearing)   £45  £50  £5
 General Application Fees (With Hearing)  £80  £150  £70
 Winding Up Fee  £1,385  £1,530  £145
 Bankruptcy  £920  £1,030  £110

Allocation and listing fees

If a case is contested, a judge must assign it to the appropriate case management track. Users are usually required to complete a directions questionnaire. A fee is usually charged when the questionnaire is submitted. Fees vary according to the complexity of the case and its track (small, fast or multi). Listing fees are charged at the same time as, or close to the hearing fee and covers the cost of the administrative process.

The government consulted on removing both of these fees to streamline the administrative process, instead including the cost of the allocation process into the issue fee and the cost of the listing process into the hearing fee. Objections were also made by some who thought those who had simple cases would be "subsidising" those whose cases progressed further. The government is pressing ahead with removing both these fees. Processing fees can be time consuming and incurs costs for both court users and HM Courts & Tribunals Service. Although it is recognised that additional fee points can help users decide whether they need to continue with their case, the government thinks the simplified fee structure offers greater benefits.

Hearing fees

In light of responses received, the government doesn't intend to increase small claim track hearing fees at current levels. They will update the fees to 13/14 prices.
The fees currently charged in fast and multi track hearing claims should be considered alongside the other enhanced charging proposals, although they will announce their intention regarding these fees in the part two consultation response, to be issued in due course.

General applications

General applications are additional processes that can be issued by a court user alongside a case. They are used widely across the civil court system and can be made at any time before or during the course of proceedings. Examples of general applications can include applications from parties to: amend pleadings; file further documents; set aside judgments or to adjourn proceedings or an application to join additional parties to a case.

The new fee proposed is £50 (increase from £45) for an application made by consent or without notice, which usually do not require a hearing, and £150 (from £80) for an application on notice, which usually require a hearing.

About the Author

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Richard Lester

Associate Equivalent

03700 86 8205

Richard is a Team Leader within the commercial debt recovery section, having considerable experience acting for clients in relation to commercial legal actions, as well as all methods of enforcement of monetary judgments, return of goods claims and insolvency.

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