Evidence against court fee increases is mounting, says Bar Council

4 November 2016

Responding to today's analysis by the TUC of the impact of court fee increases on employment tribunals,Chairman of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, said: "There is mounting evidence that enhanced court and tribunal fees are acting as a deterrent to those seeking justice.

"The TUC's analysis of official government statistics paint a worrying picture for those facing sexism, racism, disability discrimination at work. They are being priced out of the courts. Earlier this year, the House of Commons' Justice Select Committee warned that soaring court and tribunal fees were preventing people from seeking justice, while statistics from the Registry Trust show a 19 per cent drop in county court judgments against businesses in the first half of 2016. We are also concerned about the Ministry of Justice's recent increases to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal fees of over 500 per cent, which will mean even more people being locked out of our justice system. 

"Hard working people are being denied the chance to put their case and have little or no other option to seek any kind of remedy when facing a serious problem at work. While the Ministry of Justice claims that this is a fundraising exercise to fund the courts and tribunals, the evidence suggests they aren't getting their money. Very few can afford to use the system. 

"At the very least, the Ministry of Justice should properly and thoroughly review the court and tribunal fee increases to assess what impact they are having on access to justice."

Notes to Editors

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board