In light of the Government's recent hike in court fees will they hinder our justice system? It is the first time in English history that we have a person in charge of our Legal system who has no legal qualifications or experience whatsoever and boy does it show! Solicitors and Barristers have been on strike, held protests, walked out of court. None of this has been given much airplay on the mainstream media, but the result is making access to legal challenge through the courts and tribunals harder for ordinary people.
Access to help with legal aid is generally not available for most hard-working people with a modest income, surely this is not to be expected in a leading western democracy?
In the year this country celebrates 800 years since the signing of the Magna Carta, the Government has decided to increase some court fees by over 600%. Court fee increases will be effective as of 9 March 2015. They are tantamount to 'selling justice'.
By way of example:
- If your claim is £20,000 the previous court fee was £610; now it will be £1,000. That’s a 64% increase.
- If your claim is £40,000 the previous court fee was £610; now it will be £2,000. That’s a 228% increase.
- If your claim is £90,000 the previous court fee was £910; now it will be £4,500. That’s a 395% increase.
- If your claim is £150,000 the previous court fee was £1,315; now it will be £7,500. That’s a 470% increase.
- If your claim is £190,000 the previous court fee was £1,315; now it will be £9,500. That’s a 622% increase.
- If your claim is £200,000 the previous court fee was £1,515; now it will be £10,000. That’s a 576% increase.
- If your claim is £250,000 the previous court fee was £1,720; now it will be £10,000. That’s a 481% increase.
WHY IS THIS PETITION IMPORTANT?
People and businesses with genuine claims will be discouraged from going to court to assert their legal rights. Law Society president, Andrew Caplen has said that "the government's hikes...will price the public out of the courts and leave small businesses saddled with debts they are due but unable to afford to recover”.
The increases are likely to provide an incentive for large companies to deny liability, knowing that injured parties would not be in a position to fund expensive court fees. Finally, it will most likely lead to small business insolvency. Unpaid invoices of £10,000s or £100,000s mean cash flow and overdrafts will become even more stretched.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Sign this petition and write to your local MP. The increases are arbitrary and must be reversed.