If you're thinking of going to court in England or Wales to get back money you're owed, from today you'll pay higher fees on claims totalling more than £10,000.
The change means you'll now pay 5% of the total civil money claim in fees where the claim is more than £10,000 and you file and pay via the court. It'll cost 4.5% of the total claim if you submit forms and pay the court fees online.
Previously there was a set fee depending on how big the claim was. On claims over £10,000 it ranged from £455 to £910. But now people will end up paying a lot more – see the table below for a full breakdown.
However today's change doesn't affect the fee for taking a claim through the small claims court in England or Wales, which is used for claims of £10,000 or less – see our Small Claims Court guide for more information on how to settle disputes legally.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland there are different fee structures for civil money claims and the small claims maximum is £3,000.
The increase in court fees has been met with anger from some, and an online petition to reverse the decision to increase court fees was started over concerns that "people and businesses with genuine claims will be discouraged from going to court to assert their legal rights".
It gained just over 4,000 signatures but the new fees, which were debated by Lords last week, have now come into effect today.
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The below table compares the new and old fees (the new maximum fee is capped at £10,000):
|Claim amount||Old fees (sending
(sending form to
|Up to £300||£35||£25||No change||No change|
|£300.01 to £500||£50||£35||No change||No change|
|£500.01 to £1,000||£70||£60||No change||No change|
|£1,000.01 to £1,500||£80||£70||No change||No change|
|£1,500.01 to £3,000||£115||£105||No change||No change|
|£3,000.01 to £5,000||£205||£185||No change||No change|
|£5,000.01 to £10,000||£455||£410||No change||No change|
|£10,000.01 to £15,000||£455||£410||£500-£750||£450-£675|
|£15,000.01 to £20,000||£610||£550||£750-£1,000||£675-£900|
|£20,000.01 to £25,000||£610||£550||£1,000-£1,250||£900-£1,125|
|£25,000.01 to £30,000||£610||£550||£1,250-£1,500||£1,125-£1,350|
|£30,000.01 to £35,000||£610||£550||£1,500-£1,750||£1,350-£1,575|
|£35,000.01 to £40,000||£610||£550||£1,750-£2,000||£1,575-£1,800|
|£40,000.01 to £45,000||£610||£550||£2,000-£2,250||£1,800-£2,025|
|£45,000.01 to £50,000||£610||£550||£2,250-£2,500||£2,025-£2,250|
|£50,000.01 to £100,000||£910||£815||£2,500-£5,000||£2,250-£4,500|
What if I can't afford to pay the fees?
If you can't afford the fee, perhaps because you receive income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income support, universal credit or the guaranteed credit element of the State Pension, you may be eligible for all or part of the fees to be cancelled.
A disposable income test will be applied in this case, which assesses your household disposable income (savings and investments), and you'll also be subject to a gross monthly income test.
If you're eligible you may have all or part of the fees waived. For more information to see if you qualify for help, see the Court and tribunal fees – do I have to pay them? document.
'These changes won't apply to 90% of claims'
Justice Minister Shailesh Vara says: "Our courts play a critical role and it is vital that the principle of access to justice is preserved by a properly funded service. It is only fair that wealthy businesses and individuals fighting legal battles should pay more in fees to ease the burden on taxpayers.
"These changes to the fees structure won't apply to 90% of claims, and waivers will also be available for those who cannot afford to pay.
"We can be rightly proud of our justice system, which many people choose to bring their disputes to because we have some of the best lawyers, judges and legislation, in the world."