Senior Judges lambaste Government over Court fees

The division between the Government and Judiciary over court fees increases were today laid bare through a rare barrage of public criticism.

Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson appeared before the Justice Committee at the House of Commons and immediately made claims concerning the reason behind an impact of the rises.

Joined by his colleague, Sir James Mumby, Lord Dyson said that “ordinary people” who fall out of the safety net of fee remissions are being deterred from taking their cases to Court.

He added that small or medium sized businesses – the sort this Government says time and time again they want to encourage – are being put off seeking justice. 

He said the Judiciary warned Ministers of the real dangers of both implementing and increasing civil court fees and noted the research in advance of reforms was hopeless and amounted little more than 31 phone calls to interested parties.

Mumby, President of the Family Division, said there had been an increase in litigants in person but that “shamefully little” had been done to help them understand the Court process, with information provided to them “woefully inadequate”.

He added that the Court had intended to make the Court proceedings more accessible and gave an example of incremental increases in court fees for divorce amounting to “another poll tax on wheels” and were disproportionally affecting women. 

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