Business owners who are considering bringing civil and commercial cases to court are urged to start legal proceedings before the end of the week following the news that fee increases of up to 600 per cent for civil claims have been brought forward to Monday, March 9.
Originally planned to be implemented this April, the substantial rises – which come hot on the heels of significant increases introduced just 12 months ago – mean companies will be forced to pay 5% of the value of the claim in fees for claims over £10k while fees for cases worth £200k or more will be capped at £10k.
Despite significant opposition from The Law Society and other leading legal figures, the government is pressing ahead with the measures which aim to boost fee income from court users – and reduce the burden on taxpayers to fund the justice system.
Rachel Crookes, head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution at the Leeds office of hlw Keeble Hawson, said: “Bringing forward these massive fee hikes by three weeks presents very tight deadlines for firms seeking to pursue claims for cases such as debt, personal injury and medical negligence.
“There are likewise concerns that some SMEs – for whom cashflow is a perennial challenge – may not now be able to afford to pursue such claims.
“We recommend that, where possible, companies seeking to progress their claims act before the end of the week.”
Businesses will also need to consider whether to take steps to fully quantify their claims before issuing proceedings – as all unquantified claims will automatically attract the maximum £10k fee.
With offices in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster, hlw Keeble Hawson is one of the region’s biggest law firms and is at the heart of the business and wider community.