New Law Allows for Increases in Court Filing Fees to Fund Electronic Filing System
On August 11, Governor Chris Christie signed a law which paves the way for an increase in court filing fees.
The new law’s goal is to raise an estimated $42.1 million to fund several legal programs. The New Jersey Supreme Court heard testimony on October 21 regarding the increases, which will come into effect on November 17.
Many attorneys have expressed their concern that the filing fee increases would unduly burden the less-wealthy. Critics believe that such increases will limit access to the court system and shut out those who are unable to pay the required fees. Nonprofits such as Legal Services and the ACLU of New Jersey are now pushing for a waiver of filing fees for anyone whose income is at 250 percent of the federal poverty level. In particular, the nonprofits believe that increases in fees for expungements of criminal records and fighting foreclosures will disproportionally affect less-wealthy New Jersey residents, who are already struggling under the current economic situation.
One of the programs which will be funded by this new law is the creation of an electronic filing system. Currently, important court documents such as complaints and motions must be physically filed with the court, a process which is frequently criticized as inefficient. For example, in the Civil Division (where all personal injury cases are), motions must physically arrive at the civil motion clerk’s office before 4:30 pm of the filing date to be timely. On motions which require last-minute changes and additions, this usually means that the filing attorney must literally drive to the courthouse and make sure the motion papers reach the filing window before 4:30, or pay a courier to do it instead. Compounding the problem is the fact that the papers need to be processed, filed, and then finally sent to the appropriate judge’s chambers. Although some judges permit submission via fax, such leniency varies from judge to judge.
An electronic filing system permits attorneys to submit their papers by uploading them onto the system. Implementing this system would seek to eliminate much paperwork and greatly shorten the time between submission and receipt by the appropriate judge. Electronic filing systems are already in place in all Federal and New York courts.
The current fee for filing a personal injury complaint is $200.
Although this fee may increase in the future, our firm will advance such fees, and clients do not have to worry that they will have to pay such fees if they are not successful.Have questions about the fees involved in filing a complaint?Contact the Fort Lee Law Offices of Jae Lee Law today or by telephone at 201 346-3800 to speak with an experienced New Jersey Attorney. Free Consultation, and we don’t get paid until you do.