18 July 2011
The Judicial Greffe and Viscount’s Department are proposing to increase court fees as part of their contribution to the Comprehensive Spending Review.
Having already achieved savings of £118,000 by reorganising and reducing staffing, the Treasury agreed that any further efficiencies would affect court services. The department was asked instead to investigate how it could better recover costs from its customers.
The fees structure, which was last assessed in April 2002, has now been reviewed to help meet the savings targets and to set fees that more closely match costs. The review was carried out by a panel of senior officers from the Judicial Greffe, Viscount’s Department and Treasury.
Since 2004, the fees have risen by the rate of inflation but have not been subject to fundamental review.
The Judicial Greffe and Viscount’s Department provide 206 different services which incur fees. For example, there are charges for registering a document in the Public Registry, processing judgment debts, Court hearings, actions in the petty debts court and applications for probate.
The proposed increases vary for each of the different services, but the average is 33%. All fees are well below full cost recovery (between 48% and 76%), and the individual rates have been moderated by the panel to avoid any impact on justice or on other States’ departments.
In all cases where comparisons were made with other jurisdictions, the proposed fees are lower.
The Treasury Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, says “The cost of court fees has not been assessed for nearly a decade and it is an area where there is a strong case for the users of a service to pay an appropriate increase towards the cost of providing that service.
“The Judicial Greffe and Viscount’s department run the court efficiently and have done as much as possible to further streamline and restructure their services. The proposed fee increases still keep charges below those in other jurisdictions.”