Fees charged to litigants across the Scottish courts will rise by 2% from next April, under Scottish Government plans now out to consultation.

The previous review in October 2017 saw court fees being set for the period 2018-21. A further fee review due in 2020 was postponed owing to the pandemic, and this new consultation sets out the proposed fees for a three-year cycle from April 2022. Rises of 2% are proposed each year from 2022 through to 2024.

The paper notes the effect of the Civil Litigation (Expenses and Group Proceedings) (Scotland) Act 2018, which came fully into force this year, as making the costs of civil litigation more predictable and increasing the funding options for pursuers, thereby increasing access to justice.

Beyond that, the Government continues to believe that those who make use of the services of the courts should meet, or contribute towards, the associated cost to the public purse where they can afford to do so.

In addition to the fee rise, ministers are consulting on whether exemptions from fees should be extended, for example to party litigants with a disability, and environmental cases within the Aarhus Convention.

They also propose that fees for motions in the sheriff court should apply to any written motion lodged in any civil procedure; expansion of the types of motions to which court fees will apply; new court fees in specific types of proceedings including insolvency matters; reduction in fees for some family actions in the Court of Session; and various minor amendments to shorten court fee tables following anomalies identified by Scottish Courts & Tribunals Service.

Click here to access the consultation. Responses are due by 4 March 2022.