Figures suggest that fears about the punishing effect of court fee increases have been realised

The recent hikes in court issue fees have meant that many businesses and individuals are no longer able to pursue legal action against the firms which owe them often considerable sums of money, a new set of statistics suggests.

The impact of the increase in fees was laid bare by the sharp fall in county court judgments in the first half of 2016.  There were a total of 42,091 judgments against businesses across England and Wales between January and June 2016 – a drop of almost 20 per cent compared to the equivalent period last year.

The statistics, collated by the Registry Trust, suggest that fears among legal professionals about increased fees being attached to money claims (including those relating to late payment and debt) have been borne out.

The new system, which was ushered in as part of efforts to make the civil justice system self-financing, have meant that individuals and businesses bringing claims worth between £10,000 and £200,000 were being landed with an upfront court issue fee of up to £10,000.

A number of legal bodies, including the London Solicitors Litigation Association (LSLA) and the Bar Council, expressed grave concerns about the implications on access to justice of such a dramatic increase – which in the most severe cases has pushed fees up by more than 600 per cent.  The MOJ did not heed the warnings of the legal profession and pressed ahead with the fee increases which took effect in the Spring of 2015.

Carter Lemon Camerons’ litigation Partner, Seamus Smyth, and Associate, Jonathan Fozard, have long and actively opposed court issue fee increases.  Last October they responded on behalf of the LSLA about the likely dangers of further increases.

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch, covering the full range of litigation issues, including money claims.   The firm is also experienced in resolving matters without issuing claims.  For more information about our services, please contact Seamus Smyth or Jonathan Fozard or telephone: 020 7406 1000.