You may recall that I have raged, raged against the dying of the night, about the imposition of Court fees for care proceedings before.
This was something that Lord Laming recommended should be scrapped, that the Plowden report recommended should be scrapped, that the Family Justice Review recommended should be scrapped, and successive governments kicked it into the long grass before finally mumbling, looking shiftily at their feet that they weren’t going to do anything to change those fees.
Still, we now know that care proceedings are going to be done in half the time, and with less court hearings. And we also know that the Government consider that as a result of the reduction in time and effort that will involve, that lawyers fees should be cut by 10%.
So, on the basis of what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, I have been eagerly awaiting the Government’s announcement that fees for care proceedings will be reduced – they involve far less court time and are going to be done in half the time, after all.
The fee for issuing care proceedings changes from £2,225 now, TO £3,320.
The fee for having a final hearing in care proceedings changes from £1,900 now TO £2,155.
Hmmm, okay, I guess the Ministry of Justice have to take into account inflation, so that justifies a forty-four percent increase in the fee for issuing.
We didn’t even get our half-assed fake consultation this time around, just the fees jacked up by over a grand a time, with no explanation or rationale.
Private law isn’t excused either, the fee for contact/residence gets jacked up from £175 to £215, just at the time that parents have lost the lawyer that would have guided them through the impenetrable thicket of the fee exemption process.
Quite uncanny that the last time we got a Public Law Outline that ramped up the demands on Local Authorities before proceedings were issued, we got a huge fee increase, and the same thing is happening this time to.
But just like last time, you would be a fool and communist to think that the Government has tried to implement a double-whammy of things that might artificially depress the number of care proceedings being issued.
A fool and a communist
Paul T left me a comment, but didn’t want to make it public, which I of course respect. His interest was in obtaining information from a Local Authority from Freedom of Information requests. That’s not really my bag, but I would refer Paul to https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/ which has got a very active community of people who are very very good at framing FOI requests so as to get the information desired.
Paul, you do need to be aware that there is a sharp distinction between FOI requests (which can obtain information in a general sense) and requests for information on an individual particular case, which would be Data Protection. If you try to ask about a particular individual case as an FOI request, you will get knocked back, so bear that in mind.
And good luck with your situation.
It seems odd that fees should be used as a tool in this way when the government seems to be urging more intervention earlier and at greater speed (particularly the Education Secretary) but nonetheless it is absurd
A fellow traveller
Why do you have to pay a fee for filing an Answer? By definition a Respondent is the one who has not chosen to be in court. Even in these days you don’t have to pay a fee in the county court when you file a Defence. This fee should be added to the petition fee.
Of course, if we want to be really radical in private ancillary-relief work we will restore loser-pays and Calderbank – with a proviso that if the successful Calderbanker can only collect the costs by depriving the children of their home then he (probably he) will have to wait – with interest at the judgment rate – until they are grown up.