On 9 March the cost of bringing a claim is going to increase dramatically. If the claim is below £10,000 then there will be no change in the court fees. This is surely a good thing because most “every day” financial disputes are under £10,000. The problem with claims under £10,000 is that they fall into the small claims court. The general rule in the small claims court is that the parties cannot recover their legal costs. Therefore, the parties either have to instruct solicitors and make a dent in the net value of the recovery or they have to try their hand at the legal process. Neither option is satisfactory, and the concerted steps to move people away from the court system remains a concern.
However, for higher value claims (in excess of £10,000) the court fee of starting a claim is now eye-watering. The below table shows the increases in court fees which would be applicable when starting a claim.
|Claim Value||Current Fee for Issuing at Court||New Fee for Issuing at Court|
|More than £300,000 or an unlimited amount||£1,920||£10,000|
|£250,000.01 - £300,000||£1,720||£10,000|
|£200,000.01 - £250,000||£1,515||£10,000|
|£150,000.01 - £200,000||£1,315||5% of the claim value|
|£100,000.01 - £150,000||£1,115||5% of the claim value|
|£50,000.01 - £100,000||£910||5% of the claim value|
|£15,000.01 - £50,000||£610||5% of the claim value|
|£10,000.01 - £15,000||£455||5% of the claim value|
Therefore, a building dispute where a consumer has had a major extension built (£60,000) which is found to be faulty will have to find a further £3,000 to start the process to recover their money. The victim of a significant injury will need to find a further £5,000. One of the arguments behind the increase in these costs comes from Lord Faulks who argues that litigation is “very much an optional activity” - is that really the case when the victim of accident or medical negligence litigates or simply takes what the insurer deems to be suitable?
Thankfully, for debt recovery there are alternative avenues available through insolvency litigation but the cost increases simply add to the perception that court action and recovering your losses is now only for the wealthy.
If you have any questions regarding issuing a claim at Court, please contact Dawson Hart on 01825 762281 and ask for Nick Stockley.