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Foreign businessmen litigating in British courts will have to pay their fair share of fees says MoJ

Date: (28 March 2013)    |    

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If everything goes according to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling’s plans he would ensure foreign businessmen pay higher fees to litigate in British courts.

There had been a recent spurt in foreign businessmen litigating in British courts especially the Russian oligarchs who pursued their multimillion pound disputes in British courts, under a review announced on Tuesday.

Justice secretary Chris Grayling says he wants to ensure that those who litigate in British courts pay their fair share
New sources of income will be tapped to improve the "resourcing and administration" of the UK's courts and tribunals, according to the justice secretary, Chris Grayling.
In a written ministerial statement he said that the British courts and judiciary commanded a great respect around the world and British should be proud of their international reputation and the contribution they already make to its economy.
He added that the country was a major center for legal services and dispute resolution and all possible options should be explored to further enhance the position of the UK at the centre of the international legal market and the revenue it could generate. He said that he wanted all those litigating in British courts should be paying a fair share which would ensure a rise in revenue and investment necessary to modernise the infrastructure and deliver a better and more flexible service to court users.
Lawyers bring in about £3.5bn in foreign earnings each year. Cases such as the high-profile dispute between Roman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky last year generated tens of millions in legal fees.
Grayling said there was a need to provide a more efficient service that delivers access to justice quickly and effectively, while delivering value for money for the taxpayer. At the same time the independent nature of judiciary also needed to be preserved which was at the heart of British constitutional arrangements.
The lord chief justice, Lord Judge, said the rule of law and access to justice were fundamental to British society; and it was increasingly difficult to secure adequate funding to support and develop the courts and tribunals.
He added that he and the senior president of the tribunals Sir Jeremy Sullivan, recognised the wisdom of exploring ways in which to achieve funding arrangements which were consistent with the independence of the judiciary, the responsibility of the state to provide access to justice and the need for appropriate accountability.
Lucy Scott Moncrieff, president of the Law Society, which represents solicitors in England and Wales, welcomed the initiative and said that at a time of fiscal austerity, it was right that the Ministry of Justice was seeking to find new and innovative ways of funding and updating the courts service, she said.