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Support for court users

Published: 27 Feb 2018 09:21
Part of:
Law and order

More vulnerable groups to be exempt from court fees.

Victims of domestic abuse, those who have received crisis support through Scottish welfare funds and more people on low incomes will be exempt from civil court fees under new regulations to be laid this week.

The changes include:

  • Introducing a new exemption for people who have received crisis support through Scottish welfare funds
  • Raising the level of income that can be received whilst still accessing the social security related exemptions to the level of the living wage
  • Extending exemptions so that the civil protective orders sought by victims of domestic abuse will not attract a fee, and committing to working with support organisations to enhance this work

Court fee levels will increase in line with inflation from 25 April 2018.

Minister for Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring there is a well-funded, modern civil courts system, and court fees in Scotland are generally lower than in England and Wales. We firmly believe that means that those who use the courts, and can afford to do so, should contribute to the cost of bringing their case to the courts. 

“As the Supreme Court made clear last year, that cannot be at the expense of denying anybody access to justice. That is why we continue to fund significant support for those who need it through a generous system of legal aid and exemptions, and the increases that will take effect from later this year are simply in line with inflation.”

Background

The consultation on ‘Scottish Court Fees 2018-2021’ was published on 20 October 2017. The 12-week consultation period ended on 12 January 2018.

 The consultation sought views on proposals for changes to the level of fees charged by the Scottish courts with the intention of obtaining the view of the general public and court users.

The consultation analysis and the Scottish Government’s response to the consultation was published on 26 February.