Queensland Law Society

Increase in court fees unreasonable

Date 08 Sep 2011
Contact Natalie Graeff, Manager Corporate Communication
Phone (07) 3842 5868
Mobile 0488 433 884
Fax 07 3221 9329
Email n.graeff@qls.com.au

Queensland Law Society said today the increase in District and Supreme Court fees, as confirmed in parliamentary debate last night, was unreasonable.

President Bruce Doyle said the Society contacted the Attorney-General recently to voice concerns regarding the new fees that have the potential to increase obstacles to access to justice through the Courts.

“Not all litigants are wealthy and many are ordinary Queenslanders who require access to the court to resolve their personal or business matters,” Mr Doyle said.

“We understand that the Court registrar can reduce fees if people can prove financial hardship, but ultimately what the increase in fees does is put access to the courts out of reach for many people.

“The only other option if people cannot afford to go to Court is alternative dispute resolution. For some cases, such as family members stealing money under a power of attorney this is not an appropriate option.

“There has been inadequate consultation with the legal profession on this critical issue and to rapidly implement a change with major impact to thousands of people following inadequate consultation is inappropriate.

“Insufficient information has been presented to the Society from Department of Justice and Attorney-General on this matter and, despite a statement from the Attorney-General that Queensland Law Society CEO Noela L’Estrange attended a budget briefing at which the court fees were apparently discussed, Ms L’Estrange was not present and no proper consultation was undertaken.

“Queensland Law Society is disappointed with the action the government has taken regarding court fee increases and will continue to advocate against moves that impede access to justice.”