Further court fee increases may make it difficult for people financially to commence divorce proceedings, which is not a choice to litigate but a part of the process required to bring a relationship to an end. The proposed increase to £550 may lead to people being unable to afford the fee so they will remain legally and financially tied to their former partner long after the relationship has ended, which creates potentially more problems further down the line. A thorough assessment should be undertaken first to determine the potential impact. It cannot be right that the court profits from relationship breakdown.
Resolution tells Justice Committee that court fee increases will hinder access to justice. Earlier this year, Resolution submitted a response to the Government's court fee increase proposals, which include a plan to raise the fee for getting a divorce by one-third, from £410 to £550. It is only two years since the fee was increased from £340 to £410. Giving evidence, Jo Edwards told the Justice Committee that many ordinary people are already struggling with the current divorce fee in the wake of the legal aid cuts 2.5 years ago, and that to increase it again may lead to some people being unable to afford to bring their relationship to a formal conclusion and finalise arrangements for their children and finances. This may tie people to abusive or unhappy relationships, putting some of society's most vulnerable people at risk.