Resolution condemns 'stealthy implementation' of divorce fee hike
17 Mar 2016
Commenting on today’s revelations that the MoJ are to hike divorce court fees on Monday, Jo Edwards said:
“Divorce is not a ‘choice to litigate’ - it’s a necessary part of the legal process to bring a relationship to an end. Whether people mediate, negotiate their own outcome or go to court, they have to pay the divorce petition fee. The actual cost of the administrative process has been shown to be £270, meaning that at new rates the MoJ is making a profit of more than 100% - in effect, levying a divorce tax.
“The 34% increase may lead to people unable to afford the fee remaining legally and financially tied to their former partner long after the relationship has ended. Increasing fees will disproportionately impact women, who constitute two-thirds of those initiating divorce proceedings. The extent of the rise could, as the judiciary and others have warned, lead to women being trapped in unhappy or violent marriages.
“The Government should have waited until the Justice Select Committee, who are currently holding an inquiry into court fees, had published their findings. Instead, the way in which this has been gone about, with no formal consultation or announcement, demonstrates a shocking lack of transparency from government. The manner in which they’re implementing this increase, by calling courts today and instructing them to charge more from Monday, is not how a responsible government department should act.