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Will Increasing Court Fees Jeopardise Your Claim?!

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Last month we saw the Ministry of Justice announce a further increase to the Court Fees.  This is in addition to the massive increase that took place in March 2015 which has had a particular impact on catastrophic personal injury cases in particular.  For example in February 2014 a claim valued at £300,000 would have attracted a Court fee of £1,920.  However, the applicable Court Fee would now be £10,000 – a stark difference of £8,080.00.  

With this in mind, and the possibility of Court Fees rising even further, it is more relevant than ever to consider whether Claimants are entitled to a Court Fee Remission.  The remission system ensures that Claimants who have difficulty in paying a court fee still have access to the courts.  

Claimants are entitled to either a full or partial remission if they have a small amount of savings and receive certain benefits or are on a low income.  If the Claimant is part of a couple, credit needs to be taken of the partner’s savings and investments or income. 

So what does this actually mean?  A ‘small amount of savings’ is £3,000 or less and includes any form of savings or investments that you and your partner may have.  If you have capital of £3,000 to £16,000 you may be entitled to a remission depending on the amount of your Court Fee.

If you are in receipt of one of the following benefits you will be entitled to a fee remission:

•    Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
•    Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
•    Income support
•    Universal Credit (and you’re earning less than £6,000 a year)
•    Pension Credit (guaranteed credit)
•    Scottish Legal Aid

If you do not receive any of the listed benefits, but your income is low, then you may still be entitled to a full or partial remission.  ‘Income’ relates to the income you receive, together with your partner, and the limits to qualify for a remission will depend on whether you have any dependant children.  However, if you earn up to £5,085 (single) or £5,245 (couple) you may be entitled to a full or partial fee remission. 

Lawyers who are familiar with the scheme will ensure they consider whether their clients are entitled to a Court Fee Remission.  If you would like any further assistance in relation to your personal injury claim or more information on how these fee increases could affect you then please contact one of the Personal Injury team members at Brethertons LLP here.

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