WBG Submission to Ministry of Justice Tribunal Fees Consultation December 2023
Date Posted: Tuesday 16th January 2024
Civil Legal Justicecost of living
The Women’s Budget Group submitted a response to the Ministry of Justice’s Consultation on Tribunal Fees.
- Civil legal aid is a critical lifeline for vulnerable women, who are the majority of users. Fee increases will significantly infringe their access to justice.
- Service users should not be charged for rising costs to HMCTS, particularly amid a cost of living crisis that is hitting women hardest, and against the backdrop of prolonged public funding cuts that have significantly reduced women’s access to justice.
- While we welcome the fact that the MoJ has carried out an Equality Impact Assessment of these proposals, the findings must be acted on to ensure that vulnerable women are not disproportionately impacted.
- Public service funding should be increased in-line with inflation through general taxation, not taken from the pockets of vulnerable users.
- There must be a detailed and transparent cost analysis provided, particularly for services benefiting from digital advancements such as in the case of divorce proceedings.
- The fee exemption system as it currently stands should be reviewed to ensure existing barriers to justice are removed.