Government statement and response to consultation on further fee proposals

Court and Tribunal Fees. The Government response to consultation on further fees proposals was published in December 2015.

This document is the Government Response to a consultation published in July 2015 to increase court and tribunal fees.

Summary of responses:

We received a total of 40,532 responses to the consultation paper. This included 40,317 generic responses which were the result of an organised campaign relating to fees in the General Regulatory Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal. These responses were solely focused on the introduction of fees in the tribunal for appeals against decisions of the Information Commissioner and came from individual members of the public. These respondents disagreed with those proposals. Of the remaining 215 responses the majority of the respondents disagreed with the package of proposals. We received responses from law firms, professional bodies, businesses, barristers and local councils. We also received a number of responses from individuals, the Judiciary and academic institutes.

In a ministerial statement on 17 December, Shailesh Vara, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Work and Pensions and at the Ministry of Justice, announced:

There remains a need to ensure the courts are not placing too great a burden on the taxpayer. Courts and tribunals in England and Wales cost £1.7 billion in 2014-15, but we only recovered £700 million in income. That is a net cost to the taxpayer of around £1 billion.

It is therefore right that we ask for a greater contribution from court users who can afford to pay more. We have balanced this need alongside the responses we received to our consultation and decided to:

  • Implement fee increases of 10% across the range of civil proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, determination of costs proceedings, and civil business in the Magistrates Courts.
  • Introduce fees for the first time in the General Regulatory Chamber and the Tax Chamber of the First-tier Tribunal and in the Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery Chamber.
  • Keep the maximum fee cap in money claims at £10,000. A number of consultees were concerned about the proposal to raise the cap to £20,000. We accept that it is too soon to understand the full impact of the first round of fee increases introduced in March this year. We will therefore not implement the further increase at this stage, but keep this option under review.
  • Introduce a fee of £20 for an appeal against a financial penalty in the Tax Chamber. Some respondents felt that it was unfair to charge an issue fee of £100 for an appeal against a financial penalty of £100 or less imposed by HM Revenue and Customs, so we have decided to introduce a lower fee than initially proposed.
  • Introduce fees of £100 to issue proceedings in the Property Chamber and £200 for a hearing. There will be an exception for proceedings relating to rent levels and pitch fee applications, where a lower fee of £20 will apply. This will mean fees are more proportionate to the amount in dispute. We will not implement the higher fees for leasehold enfranchisement proceedings that were proposed in the consultation paper at this stage, so these proceedings will be subject to the standard fees in the Chamber.
  • Defer any decision on whether to introduce a fee for bringing an appeal against a decision of the Information Commissioner until the Independent Commission on Freedom of Information reports next year.