The recently published Ministry of Justice proposals would see court fees for divorce increased from £410 to £750. Other family cases would also be affected by the planned changes.
Resolution said the government had not convincingly made its case.
“There is no justification for charging the public more than the actual cost (even as they do today) of using a service to pursue a legal remedy which is their right under statute. The proposed divorce petition fee is disproportionate to the actual cost and where there is no apparent commitment to that revenue being spent on under-resourced family court services.”
The government was attempting to depict getting divorced as a decision to engage in litigation, Resolution claimed, and its plans were was based on the assumption that divorcing couples would be willing and able to pay the higher fees.
“We do not consider the Ministry of Justice’s ‘research in support’ to be robust. For example, only four solicitors were consulted, with little reference to the net worth of their client base, and the solicitors concerned do not seem to have been interviewed about a divorce fee as high as £750. Clients or those using the family courts on an unrepresented basis have not been directly consulted. Whatever the value of the proceedings to them, we believe that this fee will be beyond the reach of many and fees exemption is not widely available.”
The organisation added:
“It could readily result in people remaining in marriages which have failed and in conflict for longer, which has been consistently demonstrated not to be in the best interests if children.”