Court Fee Hike Makes Divorce Harder
The government has announced that court fees for divorce proceedings are increasing, and they’ve also stated the opening of a consultation to look into further rises in costs.
With many people already experiencing difficulties affording to pay court fees, will these extra costs put divorce and access to justice out of sight for many?
What Are The Changes?
Court fees are set to increase by a third from £410 to £550 for issuing divorce proceedings later this year. This includes a fee reduction for vulnerable individuals. These fees are anticipated to rise further due to the opening of a government consultation on the matter.
Other notable fee increases include:
- General civil proceedings applications to double from £50 to £100
- Contested civil applications rise from £155 to £255 (not to apply to injunctions to protect from violence or harassment)
- Possession claims (usually to evict tenants) to rise from £280 to £355
What This Means for You
Whilst these changes are set to see the government receiving somewhere in the region of £60 million per year
, the real cost will be faced by individuals restricted from access to justice by these costs.
Jonathan Smithers, President of The Law Society
, notes:"All civil cases, from those filing for divorce to landlords needing their property back are affected by these latest punitive increases which are tantamount to selling justice like a commodity, leaving it out of reach for many ordinary people."
Our Director of Family Services
, Emma Pearmaine, voices concerns for the impact this will have on families:"Whilst those in financial hardship can make an application for reduced court fees, it does only provide relief for a few. Our fear is that the hike in court fees will result not in a drop in divorce, but in a drop in financial and other type orders being submitted to the court thereby leaving many families vulnerable."
Get in Touch
If you are considering divorce
it is important to get the right legal advice to make sure that your divorce and any financial or children matters are properly resolved.Our Family Law team at Simpson Millar LLP know how important it is for you to budget for family disputes, which is why we offer cost effective solutions such as our fixed fee divorce service.