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SA court fees raise revenue and concern

SA court fees raise revenue and concern

Increases in court fees in South Australia have raised concerns among legal leaders about access to justice.Court fees for the new financial year have risen from $1,797 to $2,126 in the Supreme…

Increases in court fees in South Australia have raised concerns among legal leaders about access to justice.

Court fees for the new financial year have risen from $1,797 to $2,126 in the Supreme Court; from $899 to $1064 in the District Court; and from $226 to $267 in the Magistrates Court.

The Rann Government included the change in the state budget, claiming it would save around $1.6 million in costs.

However, lawyers have warned that the change could increase court delays, appeals and push people to sue the police.

"The higher the fees, the greater the hurdle that South Australian plaintiffs have to jump through to obtain justice," said Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) SA president Anthony Kerinn in calling for review of the changes.

SA Law Society president Ralph Bonig agreed, noting that "none of the increases have anything to do with supplying extra resources for the general public to access to courts".

"It is purely a revenue raising measure for the state," said Bonig, who believes it highly unlikely the changes would be reneged.

"It is very unusual for fees that are gazetted to be disallowed. This is another cause for concern as the Government has an open hand in terms of where it wants to raise its money."

The ALA also warned the increases would contribute to a further clogging of the court process as applicants apply for fee reductions, worsening an already encumbered court process.

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