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Proposed increase to court fees in Northern Ireland

Last updated: 8 Jun 2016

Consulting body:
Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service
Period of consultation:
Runs from 14 March 2016 to 8 June 2016
CML action:
Response submitted

Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) sought views on a proposal to increase the fees charged for the delivery of civil court business. 

NICTS has been failing to recover the full costs of its operations and the proposed new fee structure aims to close that gap.

This consultation is not about whether fees will rise (this is assumed) but by how much and over what period.

The options are:

  1. Full cost recovery - an increase to the fees of approximately 37%, effective from 1 April 2017;
  2. Increase to match inflation increase since 2008 (equivalent to 21.9%), effective immediately; and
  3. Increase to match inflation increase since 2007, phased in over three years.

The motive behind the Northern Ireland proposal is to recover the costs of court proceedings; at present, the NICTS only recovers 73% of costs. This proposal comes on the back of savings of £5.8m over two years to 2016/7, a saving of 21.7%.

CML has responded to the call for evidence, following consultation with members, based on the assumption that members would like:

  • The increase to match inflation, as this ensures that NICTS remains incentivised to deliver a service that is cost-efficient for users; and
  • The increase to be phased in over three years to allow time to absorb costs.

The full CML response can be downloaded from the document download section below.