Targeted fee rises aiming to cover the costs of Scotland's civil courts will come into force on 28 November, under a ministerial order now laid before the Scottish Parliament.
The order confirms the Scottish Government's intention to press ahead with one of the two sets of proposals consulted on over the summer, which drew protests from across the legal profession as putting up barriers to people seeking justice.
Ministers proposed either an across-the-board 24% rise in fees, or targeted increases leaving some fees unchanged while imposing big increases on others. The Court Fees (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Order 2016 (SSI 2016/332) adopts the latter course.
It means that most sheriff court initial writs will cost £120 to warrant, up from £96, with the same rise for lodging responses. And whereas actions under the new simple procedure, which comes into force from the same date, will incur the same £18 fee as now if for under £200, those suing for larger sums will cost £100 rather than £78 to get started. The fee for a simplified divorce writ rises from £113 to £120.
In the Court of Session, big increases apply to signeting a summons, presenting a petition or lodging defences or answers (all up from £214 to £300), to enrolling motions (up from £54 to £100), and to hearing fees after the first 30 minutes (up from £96 to £200 per 30 minutes for single judge hearings, and from £239 to £500 per 30 minutes for three judge hearings).
Fees in the Sheriff Appeal Court are unchanged.
The order is subject to the negative procedure in the Scottish Parliament.