Court Fees; write to your MP
Court Fee hikes – write to your local MP
The Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) is asking members to join other professionals in writing to their MPs to object to the announced rise in court fees.
CILEx is working with a coalition of organisations representing the concerns of lawyers, solicitors, business and patient groups, from both claimant and defendant perspectives, including: The Law Society, the Bar Council, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx), the Forum of Insurance Lawyers (FOIL), the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the Motor Accident Solicitors Association (MASS), Action Against Medical Accidents (AvMA), R3 Association of Business Recovery Professionals, the Commercial Bar Association (COMBAR), the Chancery Bar Association and the Professional Negligence Bar Association.
This coalition has prepared a joint briefing for parliamentarians on the issue.
A draft letter has been prepared for members wishing to write to their local MP, though members are encouraged to adapt the content and make it their own.
House of Commons
Dear <<Mr/Ms/Sir etc Surname>>,
Increase in court fees
As a Chartered Legal Executive in <<location >> I am writing to inform you about the recent decision from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to increase court fees in England and Wales. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the nature of my concern with you, as well as any support you can offer in raising this with the Department.
The MoJ recently announced plans to raise revenue from the courts system by introducing a new structure for fees for bringing money claims over the value of £10,000. The announcement can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/396887/cm8971-enhance-fees-response.pdf%20.
Under the proposed system, a fee to issue a £190,000 legal claim, for example, will rise by 622%, from £1,315 to £9,500.
The types of claims that would be affected include small businesses recovering debts from a buyer for goods or services. Some SMEs are forced to begin legal proceedings when buyers delay payment, as these actions can have a devastating impact on the cash flow of the business.
Others could involve pensioners with limited financial means seeking to lodge a personal injury claim. Many people cannot afford the extra £2,000 they would need to make a £50,000 claim, particularly if they are elderly or have been out of the workforce for some time due to personal injury. Such fee increases can be prohibitive, and will deter people from lodging claims altogether, thereby denying them access to justice.
I am concerned about the impact the decision to implement the fee increases could have on many of my clients including both consumers and small businesses, as well as upon the economic viability of my firm. Should the MoJ go ahead with these plans, it will have a detrimental effect on the sustainability of my practice and your constituents.
<<insert a short statement about the impact on your firm/local impact>>
I am also concerned about the evidence base that the MoJ used to come to its decision to increase court fees. The department claims that 90% of money claims will not be affected, but it is clear to me that the potential impact is much more serious than anticipated, and will make justice harder to access for many.
You may also have seen a joint briefing prepared by a coalition of concerned organisations, available here: http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/policy-campaigns/parliamentary-briefings/documents/Court-fees-joint-parliamentary-briefing/
I would appreciate any representations you could make to Shailesh Vara MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Ministry of Justice, on my behalf and that of your constituents at your earliest convenience.
I would be happy to meet to discuss this further.
<<your contact details>>