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George Eddon and Julie Ward, Executive Committee, Association of Lawyers for Children
In December 2007, the Ministry of Justice published a consultation document on proposed increases to the court fees payable by local authorities in relation to public law Children Act 1989 proceedings. From 1 May 2008 the former fee of 150 paid at the commencement of care proceedings has increased to a total of nearly 5,000. Funds have been transferred from Her Majestys Court Service (HMCS) budget to the 150 or so local authorities with childrens social care responsibilities to enable them to pay the increased fees.
Many agencies and organisations involved in the family justice system, including the Association of Lawyers for Children (ALC), have contended that this Government strategy is potentially dangerous for children, because it is likely to deter cash-strapped local authorities from issuing care proceedings.
This article discuses these concerns and examines the background to the introduction of the new fees.
For the full article, see May  Family Law journal.
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