Court fees damage access to justice MPs conclude


The introduction of court and tribunal fees has led to a ‘precipitate drop’ in the number of cases brought, according to a cross-party committee of MPs.

The House of Commons Justice Committee said that following the introduction of fees of up to £1,250 in 2013, cases dropped by almost 70%.

The number of employment tribunal cases brought by individuals fell by about 67% to around 4,500 per quarter from October 2014 to June 2015. While the number of multiple claims declined by 72% from 1,500 per quarter in the year to June 2014 to around 400 per quarter since October 2013.

The report, Courts and Tribunal Fees, said that the regime of employment tribunal fees has had a ‘significant adverse’ impact on access to justice for meritorious claims.

It urged the government to make a ‘substantial reduction’ to the fees, increase the disposable capital and monthly income thresholds, and give ‘special consideration’ to women alleging maternity or pregnancy discrimination. It also recommended scrapping the increased fee for divorce petitions.

The Ministry of Justice said it will consider the report, but that it was right for court users to relieve the taxpayers’ burden.

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