Court Fees Set To Increase - MLP Law

Court Fees Set To Increase

  • Family Law
  • 2nd Apr 2024

Towards the end of last year, the Ministry of Justice held a consultation regarding the proposed increase of up to 202 Court fees. The consultation closed in November 2023. The proposed increase is up to 10% for most of those as part of the consultation. Read the full report here  Any changes are very likely […]

By Colin Hornby


Towards the end of last year, the Ministry of Justice held a consultation regarding the proposed increase of up to 202 Court fees. The consultation closed in November 2023.

The proposed increase is up to 10% for most of those as part of the consultation. Read the full report here 

Any changes are very likely to take effect from April 2024, although no official date has been announced.

From a family law perspective, please see below a list of the most common Court fees, their current cost and what the new fee could be:

· Divorce – current £593, new fee £652

· Children (contact etc) – current £232, new fee £255

· Schedule 1 (children) – current £232, new fee £255

· Applications by consent – current £53, new fee £58

· Applications within proceedings – current £167, new fee £184

· Application for a financial order – current £275, new fee £303

Impact on accessing justice

Since the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), accessing legal aid has been extremely difficult for those who are not the victim of abuse.

This has significantly curtailed the public accessing early legal help and is likely to be one of the reasons in a significant increase in cases coming before the Court.

Wages and benefits have not kept pace with inflation. Therefore, If Court fees are increased this may disproportionately affect lower income families in accessing justice e.g. for access to their children or getting the right outcome in financial remedy cases.

To give a sense of scale the fee for applying for divorce was £410 in 2012 until 2016 when it was increased by 34% to a whopping £550.

It is yet to be seen, but it is hoped that the eligibility criteria for legal aid and help with fees will also be amended to ensure that more families can receive financial support to help with their case or towards Court fees.

Will the fees generated help the system

Since the closure of hundreds of local Courts, the processing times for certain applications has been laid bare for all accessing the justice system to see.

This is particularly true regarding divorce matters with HMCTS now operating a central system. Although the introduction of the electronic system (MyHMCTS) has helped, accessing updates via telephone can see you on hold for what feels like forever. There are also certain functions which you must email or call the Court to address. This is made even more frustrating with the several different email addresses used for divorce cases.

I am not certain that the money generated from the increase in fees is going to make any inroads into fixing a crumbling system.

I would like to see undefended and straightforward Divorce cases be completely digitised. With some checks and balances, this could significantly speed up the issuing of the application, the making of the conditional order and final order. This could see Judges’ time spent on delivering access to Justice on other more important legal issues rather than.

Another by-product of completely digitising the system would see a huge reduction and saving in postage fees.

About the expert

Colin Hornby

Partner - Family Law

Colin has over a decade of hands-on experience in dealing with most types of family law matters. He stands out as a beacon of expertise and compassion in the family law arena. Particularly skilled at addressing the multifaceted challenges of divorce, financial remedy matters, and private child arrangements, Colin seamlessly combines unparalleled professional judgement with a warm, friendly conversational approach. Understanding the pressures and stresses of modern life, especially for business professionals, Colin makes himself accessible outside the conventional 9-5, often going above and beyond to provide timely advice. His rapidly escalating reputation in the legal world is a testament to the consistently excellent outcomes he achieves for his clients and the glowing feedback he receives. Drawing from personal experience as a separated parent, Colin offers a unique brand of empathetic service that resonates deeply with clients navigating the turbulent waters of family disputes. His recent accomplishment of skilfully handling an intricate divorce and financial remedy case — where he adeptly proved the opposing party's deceit in dissipating assets, ultimately securing a remarkably favourable outcome for his client — further underscores his capabilities. One of Colin’s key strengths is handling significant amounts of evidence and paperwork ensuring no stone is left unturned. He is extremely competent at preparing detailed and persuasive witness statements and evidence for clients. Colin is a seasoned specialist in pre and post-nuptial agreements, cohabitation and separation agreements/ disputes, and a vast range of intricate financial cases encompassing businesses, property portfolios, and substantial pension assets. He also deals with all types of private child arrangement matters post-separation, having managed cases involving severe allegations, resulting in fact-finding hearings. He ensures compliance through enforcement proceedings and does everything he can to ensure his clients achieve justice. Notably, Colins’s recent assistance in securing an interim-contact order for a client in difficult circumstances, typically challenging in court, further highlights his competence and unwavering commitment to clients' rights. In Colin, clients find more than a solicitor; they discover a loyal and hardworking ally dedicated to championing their cause during life's most challenging times. Away from work, Colin is kept busy with his four children. In his younger days he played for Everton FC and competed as a sprinter for Sale Harriers Manchester at National Level. The only running he does now is after his four children! Colin provides a free first appointment. If you would like to book an appointment with him, please do no hesitate to get in touch using the details below.

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