Small businesses getting priced out of court

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Newly released figures show a 600% rise in court fees, adding to fears that the legal system is inaccessible to countless businesses and individuals.

Statistics from the Registry Trust show that tens of thousands of pounds are going unrecovered, regardless of the merit of the potential claims they are attached to.

The anticipated decline in claimants utilising the system is also supported by the figures which record a 19 percent fall in county court judgements in England and Wales during the first half of this year.

Chantal-Aimée Doerries, QC, chairman of the Bar Council, said:

“Small businesses seeking debt owed to them by customers, who are often other businesses they supply, can turn to county court judgments as a last resort to get the money owed to them, but by increasing court fees the government has cut off those small businesses’ only real and last hope of getting that money, which is vital given how important cashflow is for small and medium-sized enterprises.”

The civil justice system is self-funded, increasing user fees according to its needs. This policy has remained controversial since its commencement in 2013.