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Why New Court Fees Make Arbitration The Preferred Option For Many

2015 Court Fee Increases

On Monday the 9th March fees for starting a case in Court went up dramatically. Detailed below is a broad outline of what you can expect, then I will detail alternative approaches to resolving disputes (ADR) which have consistently saved my clients a great deal money in the past.

As you will see, these court fee increases are significant. It is my belief and expectation that ADR will be pursued as the preferred course of action increasingly rather than pursuing action through the courts.

  • For claims between £5,000 and £10,000 it now costs £455 just to file the case in court.
  • Above £10,000 now costs 5% of the claim to start the case.
  • If the claim is for £200,000 you have to pay £10,000 just to get started

This is all not withstanding the extra and potentially escalating costs of:

  • Any additional costs for further applications to the court
  • And that’s not even mentioning legal costs for your representation
  • Or the other side’s lawyers as well if you lose.

It’s time to think of resolving your dispute in another way.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Processes

Arbitration has many advantages

  • Cost – Although you have to pay the arbitrator, there are no court costs for starting the proceedings as there are in court, and the whole process can be a lot cheaper.
  • Time – Court proceedings can be lengthy and drawn out. Even a straightforward case can sometimes take months or even years to come to court, with the costs racking up all the time. With arbitration you can choose an arbitrator who can hear your case quickly.
  • Convenience – With court proceedings you are at the mercy of the court which may fix hearings for its own convenience, not yours. Worse still you often find that when the trial day arrives the court does not have time to hear your case and it is put off for a further few months.
  • Choice of Judge – While you cannot choose your judge you can, if the parties agree, choose your arbitrator. This may be by reputation or convenience or because he has a specialist knowledge or experience of the subject matter of the case.
  • Court location – For the case to be heard you may have to travel a long way. This could be either to London or to some other court centre. You can fix an arbitration to take place not only at a time, but at a place chosen by the parties.
  • Finality – the decision of a judge is always subject to review on appeal if permission is given, which is likely to involve many more months. Subject to one or two exceptions an arbitration can bring finality to a dispute.
  • Scope of the case – While with a court case the judge will decide what matters he is going to try, and this may also be governed by formal pleadings, an arbitration can be limited to particular issues or be as wide as you like by the choice of the parties.
  • Flexibility – While court proceedings tend to be formal and follow a set pattern an Arbitrator can be much more flexible in his approach, particularly if the parties so wish, and deal with the dispute in a way which really gets to grips with the problem.
  • Confidentiality – Court proceedings are open to the public, and may even get reported in the newspaper. Arbitrations are heard in private, and subject to agreement between the parties are confidential.


This is not to be confused with Arbitration. A mediator does not make a decision as to which party or whose case is right. Instead a mediator helps the parties to reach a binding agreement. It is surprising how often the intervention of a neutral third party assist in this. Mediation also has the advantages like Arbitration of reducing cost, a quicker result, the convenience of time and place, the choice of a mediator, flexibility and informality of the process, and confidentiality. Some cases will never settle, however, with the best will in the world. Such cases are better dealt with by Arbitration.

What Your Next Step Should Be

For more information regarding mediation & arbitration services or to speak with a professional about your dispute, you may contact our offices at any time at 01962 690061. or use our contact form here: CONTACT US


You can also find more links and information for points covered in this article here: Dispute Resolution Information & Guides

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Contact Information

We wholeheartedly welcome you to contact us regarding any legally related issues or concerns. We're easy to talk with and will very quickly steer you in the right direction.

Stewart Patterson
Barrister, Mediator & Arbitrator

Pump Court Chambers,
31 Southgate Street,
SO23 9EB
Tel: 01962 690061
Fax: 0845 259 3240
DX: 2514 Winchester


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