The last element of good sense in the Court fee structure is to disappear as of March 2017. Gordon Exall and Kerry Underwood are right. The ending of hearing fee refunds for settled cases is counter productive muddled thinking on the part of the MoJ. The District Bench will now see a significant increase in small claims and lower value trials, in the absence of this incentive to settle. More litigants in person will appear. Lists will get longer. Any discernible improvement to the service is however unlikely.
The government is removing a key incentive to settle and thus save time and energy. It is particularly inappropriate in the small claims track, where generally a losing party is not at risk of paying costs and where there are a high number of litigants in person and where anyone can represent a party and be paid for it.