The Government is set to raise issue fees for all claims with a value of over £10,000.
It will introduce fees of 5% of the value of the claim for those claims over £10,000 with a capped fee of £10,000 payable on claims valued at £200,000 or more. The £10,000 fee also applies to claims where no value is specified or the value is not limited. Currently, the maximum issue fee is £1,920 for claims with a value in excess of £300,000.
Further fees will be payable in the event the claim includes a non-monetary claim (such as an injunction or declaratory relief). These fees are currently £480 in the High Court and £280 in the County Court.
|Value of Claim||Current Fee||New Fee|
|No more than £10,000||Up to £455||Unchanged|
|£10,001 – £100,000||Up to £910||5% of the value of the claim, i.e. £500.05 – £5,000|
|£100,001 – £200,000||Up to £1,315||£5,000.05 – £10,000|
|Greater than £200,000||Up to £1,920||£10,000|
A Statutory Instrument (SI) setting out the changes has been drafted which currently indicates that the enhanced fees will come into force on 1 March 2015. *There is however, some confusion as to precisely when the changes will come into force; the Law Society suggesting that it may be in April 2015.
The enhanced fees will clearly impact upon SMEs and individuals and, in an effort to avoid them, we are, where possible, advising clients and potential litigants to consider issuing their claims now (and preferably before the end of February in light if the lack of clarity over dates) to take advantage of the old fee regime.
Claimants will then have up to four months from the date of issue to serve the Claim Form upon the Defendant. However, if they decide not to serve it, they will not be able to recoup the Court fee.
It remains to be seen whether such a substantial hike in fees will affect the appetite of litigants, and in particular individuals and SMEs, when considering litigation. However, an increase in the use of alternative dispute resolution such as mediation during the pre-action process may well be experienced in addition to an increase in the use of third party funding and After the Event (ATE) insurance.
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