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Published On: April 2, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Court fees due to increase in family proceedings in April 2024

As of April 2024, the family court fees will be increasing. Having remained the same since 2021, the rationale behind this increase, as stated by the Ministry of Justice, is to ensure that the courts continue to receive an adequate stream of income by ensuring that fees keep pace with increased costs to HMCTS, while at the same time ensuring that access to courts is not impeded and also minimising the cost to the taxpayer as much as possible.

Whilst the government asserts that the fee increase is necessary and provides assurance that access to justice will not be impeded, there is concern that the increase in fees will increase the challenge of accessing justice and act as a deterrent to commencing proceedings.

The government has proposed to launch a more generous Help with Fees scheme to provide greater levels of financial assistance to those most in need, which must not be overlooked.

In this article I will summarise the upcoming increases in court fees for 2024.

 

The court fees that will be increasing in Private Family Proceedings include:

Applications to initiate divorce and financial remedy proceedings

  • Form A Notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial order other than by consent will increase from £275 to £303

A notice of intention to proceed with an application for a financial order to which Family Procedure Rules (FPR) 2010, SI 2010/2955, 9.4(a) applies, or an application for a financial order to which FPR 2010, SI 2010/2995, 9.4(b) applies (other than an application for a consent order).

Whilst the government did initial intend on increasing the divorce petition fee to £652, after careful consideration of the consultation responses and further analysis of the of the costs underpinning the fees, they have now decided against this.

Several respondents raised concerns about the impact of raising the divorce fee on access to justice, particularly on women as they are more likely to apply for a divorce than men but tend to face more difficulties when navigating the justice system and are statistically more likely to be on lower incomes given the gender pay gap.

Some respondents also argued that the fee is already too high, and couples may feel obliged to stay in unhappy or abusive relationships simply because they may not be able to afford the fee.

Some respondents also opposed the increase, suggesting that the current fee is already too high and disproportionate to the underlying service cost. They highlighted the fact that the administrative process has been simplified through the introduction of the digitised service and no-fault divorce, which means that there is no longer a requirement to apportion blame on one party and minimising unjustifiable contestations

 

Applications within proceedings

Description Costs Before April 2024 Costs After April 2024 Increase
Application in existing proceedings without notice or by consent, except where separately listed £53 £58 £5
Application in existing proceedings on notice, except where separately listed £167 £184 £17

 

  • An application in existing proceedings without notice or by consent, except where separately listed will increase from £53 to £58
  • An application in existing proceedings on notice, except where separately listed, will increase from £167 to £184

 

 Children Act Proceedings

  • The court fee will increase from £232 to £255.

This includes applications in the following proceedings:

  • Section 8 Children Act 1989 – Child Arrangements, Specific Issue and Prohibited Steps Orders
  • Schedule 1 Financial provision for a child
  • Special Guardianship
  • Parental Responsibility
  • Change of a child’s surname or removal from the jurisdiction while a child arrangements order is in force under s 13 Children Act 1989
  • Appointment of a Guardian

A full list of the proposed Family Court fee increases, can be found in the consultation papers here. If you would like any advice or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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