It is the time of year when we recall a story first written many hundred years ago. No, not the Complete Guide to After The Event Insurance, but 800 years on from the Magna Carta it is worth once again reciting the words of Clause 40, best known for the following quote;
‘To no one will we sell, to no one will we deny, or delay right or justice
Move forward to the present day and we find that the right of access to justice is once again being eroded by the government as they plan to press ahead with a 10% increase in court fees across the range of civil proceedings.
Although the government has accepted that it was "too soon” to understand the full impact of the first round of fee increases from March 2015, the MoJ has said that it did not accept the argument that the 10% general uplift was unjustified and unnecessary, given the stated £1bn funding gap in the justice system.
The justice minister Shailesh Vara has said that fees will rise across a range of civil proceedings, including enforcement proceedings, determination of costs proceedings and civil business in magistrates' courts, claiming to have "sought to protect the vulnerable at every stage
” whilst asking "for a greater contribution from court users who can afford to pay more
”, such as the sick and injured, or those who have unfairly lost their jobs.
So are we in danger of having a two tier justice system as the Law Society suggest or are these fees necessary to reduce the burden of the courts and tribunals on the taxpayer?
Access to Justice remains vulnerable to continuing onslaughts by those who detest and fear it, but survive it does.
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