On 9 September 2013, the Ministry of Justice published its response to the consultation on reforming the fee remissions system in courts and tribunals. The response confirmed the government’s intention to introduce a disposable capital test and a household income test, both of which would have to be passed for an applicant to be eligible for a fee remission.
The new system introduces a Disposable Capital Test for the first time. For applicants under the age of 61, a Disposable capital test will be introduced which requires those with a disposable capital of between £3,000 and £8,000 to spend no more than one third of their disposable capital on a fee, and those with £8,000 or more to spend no more than half of their disposable capital on a fee.
The over 61s will not be required to pay any fee if their disposable capital is less than £16,000 and they meet the low- income test.
If a person qualifies for remission under the disposable capital test, it is then necessary to consider household income. In order to qualify for fee remission, an applicant will need to be in receipt of certain state benefits or have a low gross household monthly income.
Furthermore, the time limit for making retrospective fee remission applications, which is six months under the current scheme, would be reduced to three months.
The new fee remissions regime will come into force on 7 October 2013.
Clare McDairmant, Marketing Manager and Solicitor, Just Employment Solicitors.