Last week the UK’s most senior judge delivered his annual report to Parliament. It echoes many of the concerns being discussed in Ontario.
The report describes the UK judicial system as now “unaffordable to most”, and the current court system as “not really designed” for the increased number of self represented litigants.
Two areas where the judiciary has pressed its views concerning civil justice are: the need for proportionality between the costs of a case in relation to the value of the claim; and the succession of significant court fee increases.
To address the costs proportionality issue, the judiciary is urging widespread adoption of the “fixed recoverable costs” scheme, beyond the limited range of lower value cases to which it now applies.
The UK judiciary remains “deeply concerned ” about threats to access to justice as a result of increases to court fees in civil cases of 5% of the value of a claim. These increases which were formally opposed by judges, are now capped at 10,000 pounds, although the government is considering increasing the cap to 20,000 pounds.