The ministry of justice has just published its response [PDF] to its consultation on fees for the Lands Tribunal — now of course the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber).
This is bad news if you are an appellant. The fee for seeking permission to appeal from the Lands Tribunal (i.e. if it was not given by the LVT) goes up from £40 to £200; the fee for lodging the appeal from £50 to £250 and while the hearing fee remains at 2% of the amount determined by the tribunal, the minimum and maximum fees rise from £100-£5,000 to £250-£15,000.
The reason given for this huge rise is that the the tribunals service aims to recover 50% of its costs from fees. That was achieved in 1996 when fees were last set, but the percentage contribution of fees has fallen to only 20%.
Nevertheless the rise amounts to a 400% rise in fees (albeit a smaller rise in applicable thresholds) over a period when inflation amounted to less than 50%. In real terms it is now much more expensive to bring a claim in the LVT than it was back in 1996.
It is really disappointing to see LVT users so badly served by this. Successive governments have created a regime of leasehold law of mind-numbing complexity and given most (but not all) of it to statutory tribunals which are often unable to deal with a dispute in the way a court would — for example because of lack of jurisdiction or case management powers — but expect individuals who may have little or no available cash to make use of the system without even a statutory power to make a proper award of costs (and thus permit a reasonable CFA regime).
RPT appeal fees also go up.