MP’s informed that divorce court fee increase will hinder access to justice

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Resolution is a body of legal professionals that campaign for improvements in the justice system to give more support to families and children involved in legal proceedings. The chair of Resolution, Jo Edwards, has given evidence to the House of Commons raising concerns about the divorce court fees proposed increase by one third.

The Government plans to raise the court fees for divorce from £410 to £550, which will be an overall increase of 60% from the £340 two years ago. Jo Edwards told the Justice Committee that due to the legal aid cut, families are struggling with the current divorce fees therefore; any further increase is not fair on those who need access to the family justice system.

A main concern expressed by resolution is that people may be forced to stay in unhappy or abusive marriages because they cannot afford the fees, which will not help the most vulnerable. Jo Edwards comments that ‘the family courts exist to provide justice, not to make profit and it is not appropriate to make money out of relationship breakdown.’

MP’s were also informed that the fee remission scheme which aims to provide help to those who cannot afford the court fees, is not working.

Resolution want the fee increase to be frozen until Government has carried out a thorough assessment into the effect of the previous increase, also investigating whether the proposed increase will prevent people from seeking help from the justice system.

To watch Jo Edwards give evidence in parliament please visit the Parliament’s website.

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