Two divorce cases go to Supreme Court

The Government have announced proposals to increase a number of court fees by 10% in 2024. Whilst not formally confirmed at the time of writing, it is likely that fees across a number of courts in England and Wales including civil courts, magistrates’ courts, the probate registry, the court of protection, and the family court, will be impacted.

Why a rise in court fees?

The court service (HMCTS) provides a vital public service, as a platform for individuals to access justice. The right to justice is a fundamental part of the UK’s constitution and the Government has a duty to protect that right. The family courts in England and Wales have been in crisis for a number of years, with funding being one of the fundamental problems.

As such, there is a balance to be struck between keeping fees affordable yet funding the system so that it works for those that need to use it. The cost of providing the court service has increased significantly over time, and it is noted that CPI increased by as much as 17.8% between March 2021 (the last time fees were reviewed) and March 2023. A compromise of a 10% increase is deemed necessary but fair.

Court fees currently generate £737 million annually. However, the remaining £2.3 billion running costs are funded by the taxpayer.

Family court fees

If these changes are implemented, a number of court fees for family matters are likely to increase, including the following:

  • Court fee for a divorce application – increasing to £652 up from £593;
  • Court fee for a financial remedy application (to determine a financial settlement) – increasing to £303 up from £275;
  • Court fee for application for a Child Arrangements Order – increasing to £255 up from £232.

What it means for you

If your cases is already in the court system, then you may not be affected by the increases. However, if you have not yet made an application, you could face higher court fees later this year. It is important that court fees are factored in when considering how you will most appropriately deal with your family dispute.

How we can help

The family team at Stephens Scown are able to assist you with all aspects of divorce and family law. We can provide you with essential early advice, where we will set out the options for resolving your dispute as quicky and efficiently as possible, and limiting the need for court involvement where possible. We are always transparent in relation to fees and will provide you with the relevant costs information, including in respect of court fees.

We are members of Resolution, and are committed to resolving your family law issues without conflict where your case permits. If court is required, however, we will represent you robustly to assist you in achieving your objectives.


If you would like help and support please contact our family law team who will be happy to help.