NEW COURT FEES, FEE INCREASES
San Francisco-New filing fees and fee increases have already started taking effect in California courts as the result of the 2003 Budget Act signed by Governor Gray Davis on August 2, 2003, the Administrative Office of the Courts announced today. Two new trial court fees became law on August 2, with the remaining fees in trial and appellate courts to take effect August 17.
Changes in court fees are necessary to maintain access and continue public services in the California courts at a time of unprecedented deficits in the state budget. These fees do not represent additional funding for the courts, but simply reflect a change in the way courts are funded. The fee changes were included in a package of trailer legislation that was enacted to implement the 2003 Budget Act.
"In this time of economic challenge, we thank the Governor and the Legislature for their support of a budget plan that will allow California courts to keep their doors open and provide essential services to the public," said William C. Vickrey, Administrative Director of the California Courts.
"The new and increased court fees were needed to help ensure that the courts fulfill their vital role in providing access to justice for all in California," he continued. "The courts will be vigilant in their efforts to implement the fee structure in a manner that places the highest value on access to justice and does not create an economic barrier for those who may be unable to pay. At a time of unprecedented fiscal challenges in our state, the courts are pleased that a budget has been enacted that will enable them to protect the constitutional values of our system of justice."
In addition to the court fee changes, the Judicial Branch Budget for fiscal year 2003-2004 contains $ 85 million in unallocated reductions for the trial courts and $ 8.5 million for the state appellate courts, the Judicial Council, and the Habeas Corpus Resource Center. The budget also directs the Judicial Council to implement cost-savings measures to achieve an $11 million reduction in court security. A summary of court fees follows.
NEW AND INCREASED COURT FEES
This summary of new and increased court fees indicates only the changes in the base fees. Various statewide surcharges and fees, as well as local fees, apply to most of these fees and will affect the total amount due. A chart including statewide surcharges and fees is posted on the California courts Web site: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/reference/documents/attacha.pdf.
The following fees took effect on August 2, 2003:
Collection of Court Reporter Fees: Fee to be assessed equal to the actual cost of providing that service to the parties on a pro rata basis based on one-half day and full day increments for each proceeding lasting more than one hour.
Court Reporter Fee: A one-time non-refundable fee of $25 to be paid by each party when filing a first paper in a civil action of $10,000 or more, or in any family law case.
The following fees will take effect on August 17, 2003:
Complex Case Fee: Additional fee of $500 for each party in a civil case designated as complex.
Continuance of Trial Fee: Establishes a $100 fee in addition to the notice of motion fee when a continuance of a trial is granted in civil and family law cases. The continuance of trial fee does not apply to hearings held pursuant to a notice of motion or an order to show cause. The fee does not apply in juvenile dependency or probate cases.
Limited Jurisdiction Filing Fee (for Plaintiff and Response) on Cases Over $10,000: To be increased to $185.
Notice of Motion Fee: To be increased from $23 to $33.
Probate Fees: Establishes graduated fees of $185 to $3,500 for estates up to $3.5 million. The filing fee for estates valued $3.5 million or more is $3,500 plus 0.2% of the amount over $3.5 million.
Security Surcharge/Fee: A $20 surcharge to be assessed for court security for civil filings (except small claims) and a $20 fee for criminal and traffic convictions (except parking).
Small Claims Fee: To be increased from $35 to $60 when the number of claims filed by a party in each court exceeds 12 in a 12-month period.
Summary Judgment Motion Fee: To be increased from $100 to $150.
Appellate and Supreme Court fees also increase effective August 17,2003 as follows:
Court of Appeal: The fee for filing a notice of appeal or a petition for a writ in a civil case appealed to the court of appeal is increased to $655.
Supreme Court: The fee for filing a petition for a writ or a petition for a hearing in a civil case in the Supreme Court after a decision in the court of appeal is increased to $590.