A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people
A not-for-profit organisation
committed to injured people

Justice must not be restricted to those who can afford it

03 Jan 2024
APIL news

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to increase more than 200 court fees must not create barriers for injured people who need to access the courts, a campaign group has warned.


The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has responded to an MoJ consultation about increasing some fees to generate a potential £42 million for HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).


Up to 202 court and tribunal fees are set to rise by 10 per cent from spring 2024, with court users required to pay more towards the services they use, which are mainly taxpayer funded.


“We understand an increase in fees may be necessary to continue to help fund the courts and tribunal system, however justice cannot be restricted to those with the means to pay. The court system should, in the main, be funded by central government as it benefits the whole of society,” said APIL president Jonathan Scarsbrook.


“The cost of litigation is a key concern for anyone who needs to pursue justice through the courts, and fees should not be so high as to put victims of negligence off litigating their action.


“Defendants might also take advantage of this situation by offering low settlements, knowing that claimants are fearful of the costs involved,” he said.


It is vital the Help with Fees remission scheme, which helps claimants who have restricted means, keeps pace with increased court fees so injured people secure the redress they need, APIL has also told the MoJ.


“Although the Help with Fees scheme is being revised by the MoJ, there are no plans to review it regularly. This needs to happen every two years alongside reviewing court fees. This way the scheme will keep pace with any increases and particularly vulnerable people will not fall between the cracks,” said Jonathan.


“Our courts system is a public service which benefits all of society so it’s vital the costs remain affordable for everyone,” he added.


“The reality in many cases is that solicitors fund disbursements, including court fees, for their clients and recover these at the end of the case. But if court fees rise too steeply, we could reach a point where solicitors are not able to take on the financial risk. Access to justice and legal assistance must remain paramount,” he added.


APIL also says if claimants are expected to pay higher court fees they should be entitled to a minimum level of service, with courts having to adhere to service level agreements, including time frames for hearings.



Notes to editors:

  • The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers is a not-for-profit organisation, formed by claimant lawyers, which has campaigned for the rights of victims of negligence for more than 30 years. APIL’s vision is of a society without needless injury but, when people are injured, a society which offers the justice they need to rebuild their lives. Members include solicitors, barristers, legal executives and academics

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