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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78240 Find in a Library
Title: Court Fees and Costs - A Background Report
Author(s): D Fernbach; D Salm
Corporate Author: Wisconsin Legislative Council
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 45
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Wisconsin Legislative Council
Madison, WI 53701
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This staff brief contains background information relating to trial court fees and costs in Wisconsin; a summary of the current user fee structure is provided and alternative approaches to revising the cost structure are highlighted.
Abstract: The legislature recently increased the State's share of the financial burden of operating the trial court system by assuming total payment of compensation to judges and court reporters. The counties still assume all other operational costs of Wisconsin's trial courts. The State's current statutory user fee structure consists of a myriad of itemized suit taxes, general and specialized clerk's fees, special fees in certain types of actions, fees for various services performed by such officials as court commissioners, and other miscellaneous user fees. There has been little systematic correlation as to the various amounts charged to litigants for commencing actions and filing documents. The report suggests that various philosophical principles underlying the court user fee system should be considered and reconciled prior to attempting statutory reform. For example, the need for defraying expenses must be balanced against the need for discouraging the frivolous use of the courts by raising fee levels. Restructuring of the fees and costs based on the ability to pay or the court time expended by litigants is one possibility. Consolidation of fees and costs into a single chapter of the statutes, elimination of seldom used fees, or combining several fees to a designated official for similar purposes provide a number of alternatives to the present structure. Two tables are appended. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Court costs; Fee schedules; Legal fees; Trial courts; Wisconsin
Note: Staff brief 80-7
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