In the face of widespread opposition from the Law Society and other legal professional bodies, the Government is pushing through huge inflation-busting increases to civil court fees (up to 600%) that will come into effect from 9th March 2015. Bedford lawyer Lynne Quarmby provides a summary of the changes.
For claims exceeding £10,000, fees will be charged at 5% of the value claimed (maximum fee £10,000 compared with £1,920 currently).
A modest debt claim of £50,000 will attract a fee of £2,500 rather than £910. A claim for £150,000 will cost £7,500 (currently £1,315).
These fees are payable up front before a case is even decided - such a significant deterrent is likely to affect access to justice for individuals and small businesses, and allow larger companies to take advantage against those who may not be able to afford litigation costs. This is at a time when large companies (such as Tesco) are facing investigation for late payments to suppliers.
The Government is quick to criticise lawyers for excessive legal charges, and is forcing through fixed costs in many areas to keep these down, only to introduce these rises which will lead to disproportionate charges which greatly exceed the actual cost of providing the service.
The Law Society has sent a challenge to these fees, but we have recently been notified that they are still to come into effect on Monday 9th March.
For more information, please contact Lynne Quarmby, dispute resolution solicitor in Bedford on 01234 270600.