The Ministry of Justice seems intent on increasing the cost of select court fees, but in the midst of the cost of living crisis it could end up being another added cost for society’s most vulnerable.

Are Court Fees Increasing?

As of the time of writing, nothing is set in stone. The HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS), like every other organisation, has faced rising operational costs over the last couple of years. This has threatened the sustainability of HMCTS’s funding model. Much like supermarkets across the country increasing the cost of bread, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) looks set to step in and increase court fees to make up the deficit.

In November 2023, they unveiled their plans to increase select court fees by 10%. As part of this process, they opened the floor for consultation, receiving 52 responses. Currently, the Ministry of Justice are looking at the response to get a sense of how much of a fee increase is too much.

Out of the 52 who responded, roughly 60% were from the public and legal sectors. The increased fees would apply to up to 202 different specific fees. It is estimated that these rising court fees would generate an addition £34m to £42m per year in an attempt to balance out the rising costs.

Are rising Court Fees going to go ahead?

Time will tell. The consultation gave a mixed-to-negative response. The larger group were those who disagreed with the increased fees. This was about 40% of the total responses so not an out-and-out majority but clearly there is a sense of trepidation amongst the legal sector about this.

However, this was only 3% higher than the group who agreed with the increased fees which was 37% of the split. The remaining voters were undecided.

It now goes back to the MoJ and HMCTS to decide how to proceed based on those responses and feedback from sector experts.

Courts Fees Affecting Vulnerable Families

Many who voted against the change did so out of concern for those who are most vulnerable. The legal process can be very costly at the best of times, but for families and individuals who are struggling to make ends meet, it could be a step too far. Many have described the cost of living crisis as being like ‘death from a thousand paper cuts’. One price increase on its own may not tip you over the edge, but 10-20% price hikes on all sides can put those who are most vulnerable under real pressure.

We have worked with people who have had to forfeit their income following accidents and injuries, the death of family members, or the breakdown of their family. In these situations, court proceedings are not optional services, they are essential to ensuring that our clients receive the money that they deserve and need to stay afloat.

However, it is a difficult balancing act as we recognise that the courts system relies on hundreds of hardworking paid employees who deserve to have job security and pay progression that takes care of their needs too. HMCTS costs £2.3 billion to run each year.

Still have questions about increasing court fees?

We will be keeping a keen eye on how this develops over the course of the year and will ensure that our clients are the first to know should any changes arise. In the meantime, if you would like to get in touch with us to talk through these changes yourself you can do so using the contact form on this page. Alternately you can email us at or call us on 0208 735 9770.

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