CLC continues to fight against increased court fees

Seamus Smyth (Partner), and Jonathan Fozard (Associate) of City Law Firm Carter Lemon Camerons (CLC), have prepared a robust response on behalf of the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) to the Ministry of Justice’s latest proposal to increase court fees.

The fee for issuing a money claim increased dramatically in March 2015. For claims worth £10,000 or more, a claimant must now pay 5% of the value of the claim (capped at £10,000) in order to issue. CLC and the LSLA have long campaigned against enhanced court fees and in February 2015 Smyth and Fozard wrote an article for the Solicitors Journal which highlighted certain key concerns.

The article can be accessed here.

In July 2015 (just four months after the March increase), the government issued a consultation to raise issue fees even further.

Smyth and Fozard’s response voices the LSLA’s strong opposition to the proposed further increases. Among other things they say that:

“The proportion of litigation cost borne by litigants was (before 9 March 2015) already high enough. There has barely been enough time for the impact of these increases to be assessed (and surely it would be prudent at least to wait longer than just four months before consulting on further increases), but the experience of many LSLA members is that the substantially increased court fees have both in themselves and/or as part of the overall cost of litigation deterred clients, particularly SMEs, from bringing claims. The LSLA’s view has not changed – it generally opposes the further fee increases.”

The full response can be accessed here.

The LSLA and CLC will monitor the situation closely. It is feared that Smyth and Fozard’s carefully considered response might fall on deaf ears, however – the government proposal which culminated in the March 2015 fee rise was met with near universal disagreement from the legal profession (over 90% of respondents were opposed to the government’s proposals) but the government proceeded with those fee increases nonetheless. That said, CLC and the LSLA will continue to campaign against government measures such as this which reduce access to justice.