Equality Impact Assessment Record
|Title of policy/practice/strategy/legislation etc||The Court Fees (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2016|
|Lead official||Walter Drummond-Murray|
|Officials involved in the EQIA||Name||Team|
Walter Drummond Murray
Civil Law and Legal System Division
|Is this new or revision to an existing policy?||Revision to existing policy|
The Scottish Government published a Consultation on Court Fees on 20 July 2016.  The proposals consulted on were, broadly speaking, options for the increase of court fees resulting in full cost recovery. In addition it sets out the proposals for fees for the new simple procedure which will be introduced on 28 November 2016 to replace the small claims and summary cause procedures.
The policy contributes to the Scottish Government's Wealthier and Fairer and Safer and Stronger objectives, through the following national outcomes.
- Our public services are high quality, continually improving, efficient and responsive to local people's needs;
- We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others; and
- We live our lives safe from crime, disorder and danger.
Whom will it affect?
The fee proposals will have an impact on all court users not in receipt of exemptions. Currently, those persons in receipt of civil legal aid, passported benefits and Working Tax Credit (including child tax credit, or the disability element, or the severe disability element) with gross annual income of £16,642 or less are exempt from paying court fees.
The proposals will not affect those making claims in the Sheriff Personal Injury Court as those fees were frozen, reflecting concerns raised in the responses to the consultation.
In considering the impact of the fee increases on specific groups, the Scottish Government considers that affordability would be the main issue. If some groups identified by race, religion or belief, disability, age, caring responsibilities, gender or sexual orientation typically earn less than average, the Scottish Government considers that assistance from legal aid and the available exemptions ensure that these groups would be protected and so the Scottish Government consider that they would not be discriminated against as a result of higher court fee increases.
There is nothing to suggest that there would be an environmental impact from these proposals.
The proposals increase fees that would be charged by court services across Scotland and so do not impact adversely on rural communities.
Nearly all fees are paid for in advance of the service so the sanction for non-payment is that the service will not be performed. The proceedings may be struck out if the fee is not paid.
What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?
No factors that might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved have been identified. However, the projected income generated by the proposals is based on assumptions regarding case levels. If numbers and cases decrease this would affect the levels of cost recovery.