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Lawyers warn that increasing court fees will hit SMEs

Slater and Gordon Lawyers

2 min read Partner content

Enhanced court fees will block access to justice, according to leading industry figures. 

Lawyers at the firm Slater and Gordon are warning that plans to increase costs by up to 622% will undermine the British legal system and block access to our world class judiciary.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks argued last week that the changes would bring in necessary revenue for the courts.

However, independent peer Lord Pannick QC argued that the measures would do “incredible damage to the legal heritage because it will impede access to justice”.

Slater and Gordon lawyers echo this sentiment and suggest that the impact on the individual, small and medium businesses and the economy generally will be detrimental and lasting.

They described the move as “wrong” and urge the Government to protect access to justice.

The firm is particularly concerned about the impact the changes will have on small and medium sized businesses.

SMEs often need to enforce their debts through the legal system and one of the biggest dangers they face is cash flow difficulties.

Figures obtained by The Law Society suggest the total value of cases brought could halve under a higher court fee regime.

This would have a significant impact on access to justice and, in turn, the economy, Slater and Gordon argues.

They also highlight the potential damage to Britain’s reputation as a global leader in commercial dispute resolution.

The UK is a first-choice destination for many wanting to settle commercial disputes in the courts and 60% of these cases are valued at more than £300,000, but cheaper jurisdictions like New York and Singapore offer real competition.

According to Slater and Gordon lawyers an increase in court fees risks driving business away.

They are urging the Government to reconsider these changes to protect access to justice and the SMEs that are driving our economic recovery.

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