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Civil Court and Tribunal fees to be adjusted

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Fuseworks Media

Civil court and tribunal fees will be adjusted for inflation from 1 July 2011.

Fee increases will be a maximum of 18.2% reflecting the rate of inflation since most fees were last adjusted. Some fees have been adjusted since 2004 and they will see a smaller increase.

The Government has approved the Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment, which applies to fees set by the Ministry of Justice and excludes fees charged for filing infringements and accessing court records, enforcement fees and fees for specialist courts.

"Civil court fees ensure that some of the costs of using the courts for civil proceedings are paid by users. They are set at rates that provide incentives for the efficient use of court services and ensure that costs do not limit access to justice," Ministry of Justice Acting General Manager Special Jurisdictions Heather Baggott said.

"In recent years, the cost of providing those services has increased, and this has been borne by the Government rather than passed on to users. The Government already covers more than 90 percent of the cost of these services and this adjustment for inflation will not significantly alter that contribution."

The adjustments apply to individual fees. For example:

- The current fee to lodge a claim at the Disputes Tribunal for a sum under $1000 is $30.67. The fee will increase by just $5.63 to $36.30 from 1 July 2011. This fee covers the lodging of a dispute, a hearing and a Tribunal decision.

- In the District Court, the current fee to lodge a claim or dispute is $143.10 while a full day hearing fee is $766.67. After 1 July the filing fee will increase to $169.20 and the hearing fee will increase to $906.30. These fees cover a court hearing in front of a judge.

People will still be able to apply to have their court fees waived as they have in the past.

The Government is also considering a first principles review of all civil court and tribunal fees. Details are being worked through and announcements will be made at a later time.

The full range of new fees was gazetted on May 26 and is published on the Ministry of Justice website.

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