HL Deb 31 July 1997 vol 582 cc102-3WA
Lord Ackner

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, since the introduction in January 1997 of increased court fees, there has been a reduction of claims brought; if so, what are the figures in:

  1. (a) The County Courts;
  2. (b) The Queen's Bench Division of the High Court, other than the Commercial Court;
  3. (c) The Family Division of the High Court;
and what are the like figures in respect of claims by litigants in person.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)

The question concerns a matter which has been assigned to the Court Service under the terms of its Framework Document. I have therefore asked the Chief Executive to respond.

Letter to Lord Ackner from the Chief Executive of the Court Service, Mr. M. Huebner, dated 31 July 1997.

The Lord Chancellor has asked me to reply to your question about whether there has been a reduction of claims issued in the civil courts since the increase in fees in January this year.

The table below sets out the information requested. It is not possible to say what (if any) proportion of the decrease in claims is attributable to the fee increase as the number of actions issued in the courts has decreased steadily over the last few years.

County Court

  • Number of summonses issued:
  • January to June 1996–1,206,076
  • January to June 1997–1,094,561

High Court: Queen's Bench Division

  • Number of writs and originating summonses issued:
  • January to June 1996–75,154
  • January to June 1997–64,106

High Court: Principal Registry of the Family Division

  • Number of divorce petitions issued:
  • January to June 1996–4,390
  • January to June 1997–4,012

The information you request on the number of actions issued by litigants in person is not currently available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Figures will however be available in December.