2nd April 2014
Today’s response from the Ministry of Justice to its consultation, ‘Court Fees: Proposals for reform’ has very mixed news for those claimants seeking legitimate compensation. We agree that a standard fee for all non-monetary cases is a sensible proposition and the proposed fee of £270 is appropriate. But at a time when solicitor fees have been slashed, court fees are rocketing for higher monetary claims.
MASS accepts that it is financially necessary for those using the civil court system to contribute to the cost of the service where they are able. But all people must have equal access to justice and must not be restricted to only those who can afford it.
Craig Budsworth, Chair of MASS, said:
“MASS is in favour of sensible reform of court fees to ensure that the costs of overstretched and under-resourced Courts are covered and the necessary experience to manage cases is maintained. But some of these fee increases are massive. They appear excessive and disproportionately high and will almost certainly act as a deterrent to some claimants in bringing forward legitimate claims.”
Bearing in mind the current furore surrounding making applications when deadlines are approaching due to the Mitchell ruling, the cost of such an application will now be almost double, when the parties do not consent. On its own, and with the number of such applications being made at present, this is a significant increase.
Whilst the overall cost of taking a 12 month back injury case to a hearing has reduced, It is important to remember that this only the first stage and the actual cost will still be £750 which is unaffordable for many accident victims.
MASS’s full response to the consultation is available on request.
For further information:
Craig Budsworth 07525 377475
Jane Loney 0117 925 9604 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
MASS is a non-profit making national association of solicitors who specialise in road traffic accidents, representing the accident victim. Formed in 1991, MASS promotes the highest standards of legal services through education and representation in the pursuit of justice for the victims of road traffic accidents. MASS comprises 190 solicitor firms that employ over 2,000 legal staff, throughout the UK. Collectively member firms conduct in excess of 600,000 road traffic accident personal injury claims each year.
The victim, and what is in their best interests, must remain at the centre of the debate. Our goal in this debate is to both protect the rights and interests of consumers who are victims of genuine road traffic accidents as our constitutional objective.