The government has decided against doubling the maximum court fee cap to £20,000, but is to press ahead with its planned 10% increase in court fees across the range of civil proceedings.
In a statement to Parliament today, justice minister Shailesh Vara said the government accepted that it was “too soon” to understand the full impact of the first round of fee increases introduced in March 2015.
These included a new 5% fee on all money claims of £10,000 or more – subject to a cap of £10,000.
Mr Vara said: “We will therefore not implement the further increase at this stage, but keep this option under review.”
The Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) response to the consultation said it did not accept the argument that the 10% general uplift were unjustified and unnecessary.
“The majority of the fees affected will increase by less than £100; the increases are important in making sure that we have a properly funded system of courts and tribunals in the future; and in normal circumstances the court will order the defendant to pay the claimant’s costs, including any fees incurred.”
More generally, Mr Vara said: “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 £1.7bn in 2014-15, but we only recovered £700m in income. That is a net cost to the taxpayer of around £1bn.
“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.”
The MoJ has also deferred 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.
Of the 40,532 responses to the consultation, the MoJ said 40,317 were generic responses generated by a campaign against the introduction of such fees.