OLR Bill Analysis

SB 428

AN ACT CONCERNING FUNDING OF LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE POOR.

SUMMARY:

This bill increases certain court filing fees and directs the increased revenue to the organization administering the interest on lawyers' trust accounts (IOLTA) program to fund legal services for the poor.

The bill also expands the permissible uses of the Superior Court's Client Security Fund (see BACKGROUND) to include grants to the organization administering the IOLTA program for this same purpose. The bill specifies that only money deposited in the fund on or after October 1, 2016 may be used to provide such grants to nonprofit organizations that provide civil legal representation to indigent people in the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

INCREASED COURT FILING FEES

The bill increases the fees for filing certain court actions and motions, as shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Fee Increases

Bill

Action or Motion

Current Fee

Fee under the Bill

2

Request for a jury in civil cases

$425

$440

3

Filing civil cases generally (there are different fees for certain types of cases)

350

360

3

Filing a case in which the sole claim for relief is damages and the amount, legal interest, or property in demand is less than $2,500

225

230

3

Filing a small claims case or a counterclaim in such a case

90

95

3

Request for designation as a complex litigation case

325

335

3

Application for a prejudgment remedy

175

180

3

Motion for admittance as attorney pro hac vice

600

620

3

Filing a counterclaim, cross complaint, apportionment complaint, or third party complaint

200

205

4

Motion to modify the judgment in a family relations matter

175

180

4

Motion to modify the judgment in any matter other than those in which a different fee applies (housing, small claims, and family relations) or no fee applies (e.g., juvenile matters)

125

130

4

Motion to open or reargue a Supreme Court or Appellate Court judgment

125

130

5-8

Application from a judgment creditor to enforce an unsatisfied judgment, including (1) debts due from financial institutions or other sources and (2) wage executions against a judgment debtor who fails to comply with an installment payment order

100

105

The bill requires the chief court administrator or his designee, by the last day of January, April, July, and October each year, to:

1. certify the amount of revenue received as a result of the fee increases and

2. transfer that amount to the organization administering the IOLTA program to fund legal services for the poor.

BACKGROUND

Client Security Fund

Existing law authorizes the Superior Court, under rules adopted by the judges, to create this fund to (1) reimburse claimants for losses caused by an attorney's dishonest conduct in an attorney-client relationship and (2) provide crisis intervention and referral assistance to attorneys who suffer from alcohol or substance abuse or have gambling or behavioral health problems. With some exceptions, attorneys must pay an annual fee to the fund.

Related Bills

The Judiciary Committee reported favorably two other bills that direct additional money to the IOLTA program.

SB 18 ( 27-28) requires courts to give certain defendants the option to post cash bail. If the defendant does not appear in court, the cash bail is forfeited. The bill transfers any forfeited bail, and interest on cash bail deposits, to the IOLTA program.

sHB 5639 ( 113) requires parties in certain business cases to pay $25 per day that the case is pending on a new docket that the bill creates, with the fees transferred to the IOLTA program to fund legal services for the poor.

COMMITTEE ACTION

Judiciary Committee

Joint Favorable

Yea

41

Nay

2

(03/21/2016)