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An abuse of process: Circumventing the 
court fee hike

Strategies to bypass the extortionate fees now demanded have been caught out - and the courts aren't letting claimants off easy, writes Leigh Callaway

4 February 2016

Court fees, the most significant of which is typically the fee charged for issuing a claim, represent the 'gateway' to the civil courts. Effectively, payment of the court fee is a prerequisite to being provided with access to justice - to issue a claim, a party must pay.

Last year's dramatic increase to court fees (which saw a new 5 per cent fee on all money claims of £10,000 or more, subject to a £10,000 cap) continues to undermine access to justice and equality before the law. Although practitioners breathed a collective sigh of relief when, shortly before Christmas, the government decided against doubling the court fee cap to £20,000, the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that it will be pushing ahead with a 10 per cent general uplift across the range of civil proceedings.

Of greater concern, however, is the indication that an increase to the current fee cap rem...

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