find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Law Society slams government freeloading

Law Society slams government freeloading

THERE SHOULD BE an urgent review of New South Wales court fees and charges system so that government departments are forced to pay their share of the costs, the NSW Law Society said last week.…

THERE SHOULD BE an urgent review of New South Wales court fees and charges system so that government departments are forced to pay their share of the costs, the NSW Law Society said last week.

While government departments are amongst the biggest users of the courts, they are exempt from paying fees, leaving the financial burden to other civil court users, NSW Law Society president John McIntyre said.

In an interview with Lawyers Weekly, McIntyre said courts are largely being paid for by the users of the courts themselves. “If the Government is not paying court fees then private citizens and companies are subsidising the Government’s use of the courts.”

As well, he didn’t “understand the rationale behind having one fee payable by an ordinary citizen and another by a corporation”. “The Government introduced this differential to justify charging an increased fee. I think it was a revenue gaining exercise.”

He condemned the corporation definition, arguing that “any business which has a turnover of at least $200,000 per year falls under the corporation umbrella and is required to pay more than double the fees paid by individual litigants”. This means that small family businesses that have a turnover of just over $200,000 are being forced to pay the same whopping fees as global corporations.

“The current court costs regime — which is determined by the State Government and not the courts themselves — is fundamentally flawed and is in need of an urgent review. In 1988 there were only 11 items under the Supreme Court Fees Regulation. This figure has almost tripled to 27 in 2004. Many of the additional court costs which have been introduced by the Government are arbitrary and merely a blatant revenue gathering exercise,” said McIntyre.

The Law Society urged the Government to “completely overhaul” the current court costs system, as well as change its policy so that government departments also bear the brunt of court fees.

According to McIntyre, “the whole system of court fees should be reviewed”. He argued that the number of different sorts of court fees has expanded “dramatically”.

McIntyre gave the example of the hearing allocation fee, a basic clerical exercise to set a date for a trial. Currently, the hearing allocation fee is $1,172 for individuals and $2,344 for corporations. “The Government … has added further fees into the process so now you’re paying fees such as a court hearing allocation fee.

“The purpose of paying a filing fee is to have a matter heard and disposed of by the court. To charge further fees for almost every step of the litigation process, especially massive costs for allocating a hearing date, is a failure by the Government to provide the community with ready access to justice.”

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Law Society slams government freeloading
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...