Court fee assistance ‘to be aimed at those who need it’
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If you have the money to pay for court fees, you will be expected to do so, the Ministry of Justice has made clear in a new consultation process.


A consultation document published by the ministry on April 18th outlines plans to make those going through court proceedings and tribunals pay the cost of doing so, if they have sufficient savings.


In particular, that would mean that if you have substantial savings, you would have to pay your court costs yourself, even if your ongoing income is relatively small.


This ‘capital test’ currently does not exist within UK law, meaning low-income, high-capital individuals still qualify for financial assistance on court fees.


Courts minister Helen Grant says: “We need a better and more targeted system of court fee remissions so that those who can afford to pay towards their civil or tribunal case do so.


“I want to ensure that the taxpayer contribution towards fee remissions is targeted towards those who need it most.”


Under the proposals, court fees of up to £1,000 will have to be paid by the individual if they have savings of more than £3,000, fees up to £4,000 will be paid by those with over £8,000 in savings, and fees over £4,000 will be paid by those with more than £16,000 in the bank.


Separate income thresholds apply to couples, who will be expected to pay their fees if they earn £1,245 a month and have no children, earn £1,490 and have one child, or earn £1,735 or more and have two or more children.


The consultation period lasts for four weeks, with the new measures due to be introduced no later than October 2013.


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