Putting up fees for people who need to use civil and family courts in Northern Ireland will simply pump more money into a broken system according to lawyers.
“Escalating the cost of using Northern Ireland’s civil and family courts doesn’t solve the real issues with the service,” said Oonagh McClure, spokeswoman for the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL). The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service (NICTS) has proposed a further five per cent increase in civil and family court fees following an increase of five per cent in April this year.
“The current court services are outdated and need to be made more efficient,” she said. “An improved, modernised system would help alleviate the strain on finances. Some minor changes have been implemented following recommendations to improve the process from Lord Justice Gillen, but more must be done to make a difference. It is unacceptable to just put up the price without making a noticeable effort to improve the process for people who need to use the court.”
“This is the second time this year that fees for the civil and family courts have been increased. Courts are a public service for which the whole of society can benefit. The cost of using the courts should be increased only very carefully, as it can price ordinary people out of justice,” said Oonagh.