DCA profit provokes lawyers’ outrage

The civil courts made £45.5m in profit last year – almost 15 per cent of its net intake from fees – a Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) consultation paper has revealed.

The surplus has provoked an outcry among lawyers, who have called for a reduction in the level of fees.

In January 2005 fees for civil claims in some instances rose by 150 per cent, and new charges, including £1,700 for registering claims worth more than £300,000, were also created.

In the consultation launched this month the DCA also proposed to introduce daily court fees for civil cases.

Employment partner Duncan Harman-Wilson from Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) said the Government should reverse recent rises in civil court fees.

“There appears to be little justification for the increases in terms of the actual cost of running the civil courts,” said Harman-Wilson. “Companies who are forced to use the civil courts will question whether it’s right for the Government to use the civil courts to subsidise other parts of the justice system. It’s become a form of taxation.”