On 22 March 2021, the Ministry of Justice opened a consultation in respect of increasing selected Court fees for the first time since 2016
Family Court fees are set to increase as the government seeks millions more to fund the service. For the past 5 years, the fees have remained the same. However, this is now set to rise.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) this week opened a consultation on a plan to increase fees by around 8%. In addition, the income threshold for receiving help with fees is also set to increase, lifting the number of people eligible which is a positive for those who have been on the borderline of being eligible for help with fees in the past. Will this increase the number of people making an application now more will be eligible for help with fees? Only time will tell.
The government proposes to increase fees in line with inflation. It is estimated the change will raise up to £17m extra every year for HM Courts & Tribunals Service and reduce the burden on the Treasury for funding the system.
The consultation states that court and tribunal fees brought in a net income of £724m in 2019/20 against the £2bn running costs of HMCTS. The paper added: ‘Like other government departments, the Ministry of Justice has a responsibility to assess its costs and deliver savings to reduce the cost to the taxpayer.
‘Fees are a major source of income for the MoJ and any increases to fees ultimately reduce taxpayer funding required.’
The proposal, if implemented, will come into effect in late September or early October this year.
Fees for filing an application for a divorce, nullity or civil partnership dissolution will increase from £550 to £592, with an application for parental order going from £215 to £232.
The proposed monthly income threshold for court users to be eligible for help with fees will change from £1,085 to £1,165 for a single person and from £1,245 to £1,335 for a couple.
The consultation is open until 17 May.
A full list of the proposed fee increases can be found here;
Although this is still in consultancy stages, as there has not been an increase in 5 years the family team at Bromleys feel that the increase is likely to take effect and would therefore urge those contemplating divorce or other Court proceedings to factor into any decisions they may make the possibility of an increase in Court fees and issue sooner rather than later, in order to ensure certainty of lower Court fees. A decision to issue any court proceedings thought should never be taken lightly and it is always sensible to speak to a Solicitor prior to any proceedings being issued.
If you require advice on whether you fall within the threshold for any relevant court fees, please do not hesitate to contact our family experts by telephoning 0161 694 4167 for your free initial telephone discussion. If you prefer, you can fill in our online form or alternatively, you can email us on email@example.com and we’ll call you back.