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Detail of outcome
The government has today (17 December 2015) published its response to the consultation on proposals to increase court and tribunal fees. The consultation paper was published on 22 July 2015 and the consultation closed on 15 September 2015.
The response announces our intention to:
- Implement fee increases of 10% across the range of civil proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, determination of costs proceedings, and civil business in the Magistrates Courts.
- Introduce fees for the first time in the General Regulatory Chamber and the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal and in the Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery Chamber.
- Keep the maximum fee cap in money claims at £10,000. A number of consultees were concerned about the proposal to raise the cap to £20,000. We accept that it is too soon to understand the full impact of the first round of fee increases introduced in March this year. We will therefore not implement the further increase at this stage, keep this option under review.
- Introduce a fee of £20 for an appeal against a financial penalty in the Tax Chamber. Some respondents felt that it was unfair to charge an issue fee of £100 for an appeal against a financial penalty of £100 or less imposed by HM Revenue and Customs, so we have decided to introduce a lower fee than initially proposed.
- Introduce fees of £100 to issue proceedings in the Property Chamber and £200 for a hearing. There will be an exception for proceedings relating to rent levels and pitch fee applications, where a lower fee of £20 will apply. This will mean fees are more proportionate to the amount in dispute. We will not implement the higher fees for leasehold enfranchisement proceedings that were proposed in the consultation paper at this stage, so these proceedings will be subject to the standard fees in the Chamber.
- Defer any decision on whether to introduce a fee for bringing an appeal against a decision of the Information Commissioner until the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information reports next year.
This sets out the government response to the consultation on enhanced fees for possession claims and general applications in civil proceedings, and we are also seeking responses to further proposals for consultation.
As the Lord Chancellor set out recently, we are seeking to modernise HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and improve its efficiency. We need a properly funded service that protects access to justice and if we are to achieve that whilst reducing the cost of the courts and tribunals to the taxpayer we must also look again at the fees we charge.
It is in this context, following the consultation, that we are putting forward measures to increase fees in possession claims and general applications within civil proceedings and to increase the fee for issuing divorce proceedings, but to a lesser extent than originally consulted upon.
In addition, we have today published a further consultation on a number of new fees proposals. This consultation proposes new or increased fees in a range of court and tribunal proceedings.
The deadline for responses is 15 September 2015.
The government will consider the responses we receive to the further consultation and set out how we intend to proceed in a government response in due course.