The Rise of Court Fees and the Importance of ATE

The Rise of Court Fees and the Importance of ATE

Court fees in the United Kingdom have sharply risen overnight by nearly 600% but what does this mean for law firms and their clients?

In simple terms, any claim which the solicitor requires to issue a claim to court will be subject to this increase in court fees. Any claim valued under £10,000 will not experience an increase in court fees.

The risk to claimants has increased significantly should their case be unsuccessful. Under a CFA (no win, no fee agreement), if a claimant’s case is unsuccessful, they will be liable for the solicitor costs and disbursements for a claim.  Many solicitors offer insurance products such as ATE (After The Event) Insurance  which will cover the client’s liability.

What is ATE and why do I need it?

ATE stands for After the Event Insurance, which is a policy taken out by a client who would like protection for their potential liability if the case is unsuccessful. The ATE premium provides cover for court fees, medical bills/assessment fees, experts and any other chargeable part of bringing a compensation claim. If the case is successful then the ATE premium is usually taken from the damages that the client would receive, and if unsuccessful, the premium and the costs of the claim will be waived from the client’s liability. It is always advisable that when bringing a claim you check that the law firm representing you has taken out a quality ATE insurance policy on your behalf.

The legal market in recent years has become a hotbed of competition and the growing importance of securing clients is at the forefront of most firms’ minds. Recent legal reforms has meant that law firms can take up to 25% of claimants damages as a success fee, in addition to their legal fees which has meant that many firms are now disregarding ATE in order to secure your business.

The prospect of having to pay up to 25% and an ATE insurance premium out of successful damages of a compensation claim may not sound ideal, but this could be the difference between paying nothing or everything if the case fails.

Court fee increase – who will be affected by these changes?

Unfortunately the increase in court fees will have the biggest impact on people who suffer with most severe conditions and injuries. Because the change is impacting on damages of over £10,000, claimants bringing claims for asbestos related conditions and work related cancers will be affected by the changes.

What should I do if I want to claim for a condition valued over £10,000?

It is important that if you decide to incept an ATE policy that a high quality provider is chosen at a competitive rate. If you would like further help or advice, contact Roberts Jackson.