Top Judge warns of “real dangers” in raising divorce fees
John Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, outlined his fears when he was invited to address Parliament’s Justice Committee.
He told MPs that there were “real dangers” in increasing the cost of court and tribunal fees which had already been highlighted by the judiciary and legal profession but disregarded by the Government.
He accused ministers of rushing through the changes to civil proceedings as part of efforts to plug a financial hole, while criticising the level of consultation which was carried out about the likely impact of the changes.
Sir James Munby, president of the family division, was similarly scathing and in particular criticised the decision last year to raise the cost of divorce fees to £550 (an increase of £140).
The comments of the Judges in the Commons follow similar concerns voiced by family law association Resolution, whose chairman Jo Edwards was asked to address MPs before Christmas.
In light of the latest criticism, a Ministry of Justice spokesman sought to defend the increases.
“Fees are never popular, but they are necessary if we are to reduce the burden of the courts and tribunals on the taxpayer.
“We are investing £700 million over the next five years to create a more effective courts and tribunals service, which delivers swift and certain justice.”
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