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Changes to civil court fees ( county court )

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  • Changes to civil court fees ( county court )

    Court fee changes mean taxpayers only shoulder costs for the poorest

    18 June 2009
    Changes to fees in the civil courts are to be introduced in order to target taxpayers’ money more effectively while helping those in financial difficulty, Justice Minister Bridget Prentice announced today.
    The fees of bringing some types of court action will rise for those who are able to pay – while remaining free or reduced for those on low incomes. Those paying the increased fees will be able to recover costs from the defendant if a claim is successful, ensuring that it is ultimately defendants who are in the wrong who pay the cost of being pursued, rather than the claimant or the taxpayer.
    The changes announced to Parliament today are being introduced so that the fees reflect the true cost of the work done by the courts – currently subsidised by the taxpayer or fee-payers in other types of case.
    Justice Minister, Bridget Prentice said:
    ‘These changes are in the best interests of people on low incomes and of tax payers. Those who can’t afford to pay a court fee deserve the taxpayer’s help. But court fees need to reflect the true cost of court proceedings. Together with a system that waives or reduces fees for those who cannot afford them, that is the right balance to ensure fair access to justice, fairness to the taxpayer and proper funding of courts’ running costs now and in the future.’
    The fee changes will come into effect on 13 July 2009. There are changes to 30 types of civil court fee, out of the 200-plus fees in operation. Most of the changes relate to applications to enforce judgments that have already been made in debt claims between private parties, and which are recoverable from defaulters who can but won’t pay their debts.
    For example, the fee for sending a bailiff visit to collect a debt or seize the debtor’s goods to pay it rises to £100 (currently there are two fees of £35 and £55). The creditor pays the fee but it is then automatically added to the debt. Elsewhere, an application to summon a debtor to be questioned by the court on their financial situation, which used to cost between £40 and £50 depending on the type of court, will now cost £50 in all courts.
    Fees are waived automatically for people on means-tested benefits such as income support, or on low incomes (eg £13,000 for a single person with no children and £29,720 for a couple with four children).
    People who do not meet either of those criteria can still apply to the court for a full or partial fee waiver based on an assessment of their disposable income, ie taking account of rent and other key household expenditure.
    The scheme granted £23 million in full or part waivers in over 160,000 civil or family court cases in the year to October 2008 alone.
    Those unable to pay court fees can get information and apply for a fee remission by going to the Citizens Advice or Her Majesty’s Courts Service websites, or by picking up a leaflet at their local county court.
    While ensuring those who can but won’t pay can be pursued effectively through the courts, the Ministry of Justice is also keen to help people with debt problems to avoid court in the first place, especially in the current economic climate. The help to debtors provided by the court system includes:
    • a new requirement, introduced this April, that any business wanting to take an individual debtor to court must first write to them, including details about how to find free debt advice
    • all county courts now display posters giving details of free advice providers
    • there is an advice desk in each of the 153 courts that account for the vast majority of possession claims
    • HM Courts Service’s online possession claim system now includes details for all defendants on where they can find local financial advice
    • a Housing Arrears Pre-Action Scheme, currently at pilot stage, involves courts inviting tenants with rent arrears to meet with local advice providers at the court before a claim is issued
    • the judiciary were issued with guidance in November 2008 on ensuring that lenders demonstrate they have taken all the steps expected to resolve mortgage arrears before they take the matter to court.

    Notes to editors

    1. Three Statutory Instruments were today laid in the House of Commons to amend fees for civil and family proceedings in county courts and the High Court and for civil actions in magistrates’ courts. The full text of all Statutory Instruments is published on the Office of Public Sector Information website and full details of the fee changes will be published there.
    2. The fee amendments are part of a government-wide focus on ensuring the cost of providing public services is met, where appropriate, by users of those services. Guidance is available on the HM Treasury website.
    3. Today’s announcement follows a Ministry of Justice consultation on fees in civil courts, which closed on 4 March 2009. The responses to the consultation are published today. A written ministerial statement, delivered to the House by Justice Minister, Bridget Prentice, explained how those responses were taken into account in considering the fee changes announced today. That statement will be added to the recent written ministerial statements on the Hansard website Daily Debates.
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  • #2
    Re: Changes to civil court fees ( county court )

    Hi
    how much does it costs to put in a counterclaim and recover costs for a set a side hearing. If I lose what is the worst scenario on the other sides costs please

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Changes to civil court fees ( county court )

      Is it in Here?

      Comment

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