Blog - The Verdict
MSB Solicitors Liverpool
Thursday, 12 February 2015 00:00

Are the Ministry of Justice working off the back of a fag packet?

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My firm, MSB Solicitors in Liverpool, employ 80 local people despite the best efforts of the Ministry of Justice.
We have an excellent Family Law department and we also do a lot of work for small businesses.

The latest wheeze from the Ministry of Justice (proprietor Chris Grayling MP, Lord Chancellor) is to increase court fees for bringing money claims over the value of £10,000.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/418837/leter-to-lord-dyson-27-march.pdf

Under the new system, the court fee to issue a claim for, say, £190,000 will rise by 622 per cent, from £1,315 at present to £9,500.
 
That’s right, almost ten grand just to file the claim with the court office.
 
You don’t get any legal advice or work for that. You are on your own. If you want or need a lawyer, you will have to pay the lawyer’s fees on top.
 
The MoJ maintains that 90% of claims will not be affected, but no one believes anything they say any more.
 
The potential impact of these fee increases could be devastating for cohabitees who split up and wish to claim a share in the family home.
 
A claim by a cohabitee for a share in a family home worth £200,000 would require a court fee alone of £10,000.
 
That is just to issue the court proceedings without the cost of any legal representation.
 
How will any ordinary person be able to afford this?
 
The type of people making such claims are often women who have left a family home owned in the sole name of their former partner.
 
The reality is that in future, such cohabitees will be unable to make a claim on the family home and may be left destitute. There is no legal aid available for such claims, however poor the claimant.
 
If one party could afford the court fee to bring such a claim, the other party would have to also pay an increased court fee if he/she wished to counterclaim. There is a very real risk that the party with the greater financial means would simply get judgment in default.
 
Small businesses will be prevented from suing large companies for goods or services supplied. The tactics of large companies delaying payment to small suppliers will escalate.
 
How can a pensioner with industrial related asbestosis afford the extra £2,000 fee they would need to make a £50,000 claim.
What price Justice under this government?
I suppose if you have a Swiss bank account, you will manage to get by. The rest of us need to make access to justice an election issue.
 
When the politicians come knocking on your door looking for your vote in the coming weeks, ask them what they are doing about this scandal. The chances are they won’t even know what you are talking about.
 
Tell them to come back when they have a policy on justice issues.
Read 3074 times Last modified on Tuesday, 03 January 2017 16:43
Sean Sexton

Sean was one of the founding partners of MSB Solicitors.
Twitter handle: @seansexton58

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