As High street legal aid solicitors, we are disturbed by the implications for access to justice caused by the latest huge increases in court fees imposed without notice by the Lord Chancellor's Department.
One example is the overnight increase in the issue fee for a divorce from £80 to £150. People on income support are no longer exempt from fees, having to pay the first £20 of each fee. For many of our clients, such as a mother with two young children on income support of £86 per week, this effectively prevents them from divorcing. Is this part of a cynical attempt by the Government to "support" failing marriages?
The Government wants the Court Service to become "self-funding" within two years. Access to justice - a luxury or a right?