Weekly Family Law Update October 6, 2021

Important update: Court Fee changes 2021

Whilst this may not be most exciting topic to do a blog post about, there have been recent changes to the Court fees payable on the issue of certain applications. This post is intended to highlight the changes and what is different.

On 22 March 2021, the government launched a consultation on ‘increasing selected court fees and Help with Fees income thresholds by inflation’. The consultation closed on 17 May and the response has now been published.

It has historically been the case that the government have reviewed Court fees for issuing proceedings and increased these in line with inflation. There has been no significant changes to the fee structure since 2016.

The government’s response to the proposal was that: “The proposed increases reflect historic inflation and are therefore not an increase in real terms.

The income generated from these proposals will go towards the running cost of HMCTS and will ensure that the courts and tribunals continue to deliver access to justice for all”.

The government decided as part of the increases to increase 129 court fees across the board in both family and civil proceedings.

Does this mean that it will cost more to take matters to Court?

In terms of the Court fees for family cases, these, for the most part, have been included within the fees that have increased. The key points and changes are as follows:

The court fee on divorce/dissolution proceedings (including dissolution of a Civil Partnership) has increased by £43 from £550 to £593. This presents the most significant change in court fees in a family setting.

Interestingly, the remainder of the fees for marriage and civil partnership proceedings remain the same as they did under the pre-30 September 2021 rates.

In terms of the matrimonial finances, if you and your ex are able to agree matters and need to file an order by consent (where you both agree to this) the Court fee has increased from £50 to £53. When you and your ex cannot agree the finances and need to issue court proceedings, the cost of this has increased by £20 from £255 to £275.

In terms of children matters, there has been an increase of £17 from £215 to £232, this applies for both new orders sought from the Court and for enforcement of existing orders. If there is already an enforcement order and this is breached, the court fee has increased from £95 to £102 (being a £7 increase).

For protective orders, such as Forced Marriage Protection Orders, Occupation Orders (to regulate occupation of the family home) and Non-Molestation Orders (injunctions) remain without a fee as these are orders required to protect individuals.

The full list of fees can be found here Court and Tribunal Fees

But I am on a low income, can I still get help with fees?

Whilst the government have increased Court fees, the fee remission scheme, or “Help With Fees” continues. The Government have counteracted the measures somewhat by increasing the income threshold from £1,085 for a single person to £1,170 and from £1,245 for a couple to £1,345.

This does not take into account the uplifts for children which is £265 a month extra for each child you have. For example, your gross income (income before tax and deductions) if you were single and had two children could be £1,700 per month to benefit from a fee remission.

If you qualify for a fee remission, you would not have to pay the Court fee. Click here for more information get help with court fees.

At Prince Family Law, our Family Law experts are on hand to assist you with any family matter you may have.