16 June 2015Print This Post

Civil courts miss 100% costs recovery target

the road of money

Employment tribunals increased recoveries by 10%

The civil courts have missed their 100% costs recovery target for 2014-15, it has emerged.

As a whole, the civil courts recovered 92% of their expenditure in fees during the financial year 2014-15, with the family courts (including the Court of Protection) recovering 87%. The civil, non-family, courts recovered 94%.

The figures, set out in HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) annual report and accounts, were an improvement on the previous year, when total civil business collected 82% of its expenditure in fees and family 79%.

Costs recovery in the tribunals runs at much lower levels, with employment leading the way on 17%, followed by asylum and immigration on 11% and other tribunals (including land and gambling) on 9%.

However, employment tribunals raised 10% more than the previous year, where they were bottom of the table, following the introduction of a new fee structure.

When the tribunals are included, costs recovery for the whole of HMCTS for the last financial year was 74%.

HMCTS said in its 2012-13 annual report that it aimed for “full cost recovery for civil and family business” by March 2015.

In this March this year, huge fee rises came into force for civil claims worth more than £10,000, with claimants paying 5% of the value of their claim, up to a cap of £10,000.

The Law Society commenced judicial review proceedings in February, at one point citing the Magna Carta’s ban on the buying and selling of justice. However, after obtaining a counsel’s opinion, the society dropped the action in April.

Commenting on the HMCTS figures on costs recovery, A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Taxpayers should not have to subsidise the civil courts, which is why we want to recover all running costs through fees.

“We made a lot of progress last year, with a significant increase in the amount recovered. We expect further progress this year following changes introduced in March.”

By Nick Hilborne

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