PA 16-26—sSB 428

Judiciary Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING FUNDING OF LEGAL SERVICES FOR THE POOR

SUMMARY: This act increases certain court filing fees and directs the revenue from the fee increase to the organization administering the Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts (IOLTA) program to fund legal services for the poor.

It 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 act specifies that only money deposited in the fund on or after October 1, 2016 may be used for such grants.

By law, with some exceptions, attorneys must pay an annual fee to the Client Security Fund. The practice book sets the fee at $75. Attorneys who do not practice law as their occupation pay half the fee if their earned legal fees are below a certain annual threshold. The act increases this threshold from $450 to $1,000.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2016

INCREASED COURT FILING FEES

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

Table 1: Fee Increases

Act

Action or Motion

Prior Fee

Fee under the Act

2

Request for a jury in civil cases

$425

$440

3

Filing civil cases generally (different fees apply to 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 pre-judgment 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 a Superior Court judgment in any matter other than those in which a different fee applies (i. e. , 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 for execution of 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 act 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 have alcohol or substance abuse, gambling, or behavioral health problems.

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