More money, more problems

In May 2024, the Ministry of Justice ('MoJ') will increase 172 fees by about 10% through a negative statutory instrument amending a series of Fee Orders. The fees to be changed are diverse, ranging from gambling licensing appeals to sealing writs of control. The fees which are set to rise include those for:

  • a fee for a general civil on-notice application, rising from £275 to £303;
  • a petition for bankruptcy, which will increase from £302 to £332;
  • an application for a charging order, going from £119 to £131; and
  • recovery of land in the County Court, which will appreciate from £355 to £391.

The fee increases follow mixed results to a government consultation. Of the 52 responses, 40% disagreed with the proposed changes, with a further 15% undecided. A summary of the results is available on

The MoJ expects the changes to increase revenue from court fees by between £34 million and £42 million per year – as compared to the overall HM Courts & Tribunals Service expenditure of £2.3 billion in 2022 to 2023. It is also noted that the rate of the fee increase is less than inflation: according to the Office for National Statistics, the consumer price index has seen a 17.7% rise since the last fee increases were implemented in September 2021.

In addition to the list of specific fee changes, the MoJ propose to make routine updates to fees to take into account inflation every two years, with the next review scheduled to be implemented in 2026. This will contrast with the ad hoc approach taken to date – a change the MoJ suggests will align with other parts of the public sector and save expense.

Some commentators have expressed concerns. The Law Society, for instance, while not opposed in principle to a periodic increase in line with inflation, has suggested that this be coupled with the introduction of a minimum service level, including clear processing times and performance metrics. Others have been concerned about a potential deleterious impact on access to justice – particularly for the most vulnerable.

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