Under new regulations presented by the SNP Government this week, more vulnerable groups will be exempt from civil court charges, including victims of domestic abuse, those who have received crisis support through the Scottish Welfare Fund and people on low incomes. Those who receive a crisis grant from the Social Welfare Fund will no longer be asked to be civil court fees, while the level of income that can be received whilst still qualifying for an exception to court charges has been increased to be brought in line with the Living Wage (£8.75 an hour).
In line with the Scottish Government’s aim of strengthening support available for victims of domestic abuse, civil protective orders sought by these victims will no longer attract a fee.
Court fee levels will increase in line with inflation from 25 April 2018.
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Following three months of careful consultation, the SNP Government has identified those vulnerable groups who need additional support to receive fair access to Scotland’s civil court system.
“While it is fair that those who can afford to do so contribute to the cost of bringing their case before a civil court, I am pleased that the SNP Government has chosen to only increase fees in line with inflation and to waive fees for those most in need.”
Minister for Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing MSP added:
“The SNP Government is committed to ensuring there is a well-funded, modern civil courts system. 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.”