Review of Court Fees in Child Care Proceedings

The response of the Association of Lawyers for Children to the Review of Court Fees in Child Care Proceedings

As two of the members of our Executive Committee (both experienced local authority lawyers) made clear in their article published in May 2008, ‘Increases to Court Fees’ (G Eddon & J Ward – [2008] Fam Law 416), the ALC predicted that the effects of the increased fees would be subtle and it would not be easy to find a smoking gun. That has proved to be the case.

Local Authorities were allocated a sum of money which they were told was intended to cover the cost of the additional court fees. The amount allocated to each authority did not, however reflect the actual or predicted case load for each authority. In fact, the recent surge in cases following the events of late 2008 would have invalidated any attempt to predict caseloads. For those local authorities that were expecting to face a shortfall from the outset, the effect will have been even more serious than expected.

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