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A Scottish Government consultation has been published proposing a radical "move towards" what is described as “full-cost pricing” of court fees.
The proposal sets out that court fees "should generally be set at levels that reflect, on average, the full cost of the processes involved, with a well-targeted system of fee exemptions to protect access to justice."
The move follows Lord Gill's review of the civil courts and is claimed to be in part implementation of its recommendations. The specific increases proposed are:
− Inflation increases of 5% from 1st November 2012 and 3% for both years from 1st April 2013 and 1st April 2014;
− An increase in the day rate for a proof, debate or hearing in a summary or misc. application in the sheriff court to better reflect actual costs;
− Hearing fees in the Court of Session to be increased to match with the cost recovery rate in the sheriff courts;
− A further general 1% increase in Court of Session and sheriff court fees to improve cost recovery to be directed towards the implementation costs of civil court reform and service improvement;
− Summary applications to the Justice of the Peace court for utility warrants to be charged a fee;
− The requirement that the court will only proceed with an action/writ if fees have been paid (or exemption claimed);
− Fees will be charged for Inner House court hearings that do not proceed if cancelled at short notice.
The consultation can be read here.