Court Fees to Increase?

I returned to work after a short break to find the latest issue of ‘Court Focus’ on my desk. After grabbing a cup of coffee I sat down to have a read as a way of getting back into work mode!

Another great article by Brian Havercroft informs us that the Ministry of Justice is considering an increase in court fees.

It is hard to believe that the court would even consider an increase at a time when confidence in the service provided is at such a low. Although, as Brian has pointed out, we will have to wait for the results of the survey carried out by the Association and Lovetts LLP to confirm if members continue to be as dissatisfied with the service as they were last year.

The Ultimate aim…

It appears that an increase in the fees may dramatically reduce claims issued which may be what they are ultimately trying to achieve, however court proceedings are only ever issued as a last resort when all other means to obtain payment have failed.

Generally I find small firms are now reluctant to even consider issuing proceedings to recover sums due to them as they have to pay the court fee together with fixed costs with no guarantee of payment ever being received from the debtor.  Usually clients will ask for a more amicable approach to be taken in the first instance with claims only being issued against debtors who are withholding payment despite having the means to pay.

When we look at debt recovery success rates, I am sure we look at debts we have recovered to the satisfaction of our clients and not how many claims we have issued to court.

With the Association continuing to assist the Government to understand the debt recovery procedure maybe in time a user-friendly, cost effective system will be put in place.

Conference 2013

The annual conference will soon be upon us and this year the Association will be addressing ‘Civil Justice; is it still accessible in 2013?’ An interesting variety of speakers have been lined up and we will be provided with an update from Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service in respect of ‘delivering services to the civil court users’.

The ‘Question Time’ session, chaired by Paul Lewis, should be most interesting and provide some lively debate in the afternoon before Gala Dinner and Champagne Reception.

All of this, plus the opportunity to gain 7 CPD points, makes this a great opportunity to meet new members of the Association and catch up with familiar faces.

Author: Christine Power FCILEx – specialising in Debt Recovery at Lightfoots LLP
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About The CCUA's Chairman's review blog
Our purpose is to promote a better Court Service for our Members and all other court users, by liaison with the Ministry of Justice and Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service.

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