Back in April 2014 court fees for possession claims increased to £280.00 for a manual claim and £250.00 where the possession claim online system was used.

Then, in January 2015, a consultation was issued which proposed a further increase by another £75.00 on both types of possession claim.

92% of respondents opposed the proposals yet the Government has decided to implement the fee increase anyway.

The Government response to consultation on enhanced fees for divorce proceedings, possession claims, and general applications in civil proceedings says –

Following a consultation launched by the Coalition Government in January 2015, today’s Government Response confirms that we will:

  • Increase the fees for issuing a possession claim in the county court by £75, from £280 to £355. Our analysis of the available evidence suggests that this increase will not deter anyone who would otherwise have taken their claim to court.
  • Increase the fees for general applications in civil proceedings by £50, from £50 to £100, for an application by consent and by £100, from £155 to £255, for a contested application. In order to ensure the most vulnerable are not affected, we are excluding from this fee rise applications such as those to vary or extend an injunction for protection from harassment or violence.

The consultation response cites the economy and costs of running the court service as the reasoning behind the increase –

… Despite the fees already introduced, HMCTS still costs £1 billion a year more to run than it receives in income. In considering the change outlined below, we have been determined to:
* deliver faster and fairer justice for all;
* protect the weak and vulnerable;
* promote equality of all before the law.

A paper possession claim will increase from £280.00 to £355.00 and an online claim will increase from £250.00 to £325.00.

There is to be an enquiry held by the House of Commons Select Committee on Justice into the effects of the increase and submissions should be made by 30 September 2015.

An impact assessment concerning the changes has been produced available to view here.

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