|Justice to cost more|
|Friday, 03 August 2012 07:19am|
©The Sun Daily (Used by permission)
by Pauline Wong
PETALING JAYA (Aug 2, 2012): Litigants will have to fork out as much as double in fees under the new Rules of Court 2012 when they file documents in the courts.
The fees will be raised by up to 100% in tandem with the increase of the jurisdiction of the sessions and magistrates courts when amendments to the Subordinates Court Act 1948 are enforced.
It is not known when the fees will be raised, but it is certain and only a matter of sooner or later.
Currently, court fees – which were last fixed in 1991 – range from RM2 to RM300 depending on the type of documents.
However, the move does not sit well with the legal fraternity and all the three Bars – the Bar Council, Advocates Association of Sarawak and Sabah Law Association – had voiced their concerns.
Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee yesterday told theSun when the judiciary first indicated its intention to raise the fees in 2010, the three Bars had urged that fees not be increased.
“There are many poor litigants and any increase in filing fees will effectively deprive them of their right of access to justice,” he said.
“Also, court fees should never be regarded as revenue for the government.”
Lim said in Britain, poor litigants are exempted from paying court fees under a fee waiver system known as the remissions system.
“The court looks into the financial background of the litigant to decide whether a litigant is eligible for a remission of the court fee,” he said.
“This is to ensure that everyone, including the poor, will have access to the courts for justice.”
Lim suggested that as such, similar provision for exemption on filing fees should be introduced here to avoid depriving the poor of access to justice.
theSun learnt that the Rules of Court 2012 had come into effect on Wednesday, but the fee hike under Order 91 of the rules has not been implemented as yet.
“Order 91 will only come into operation on a date which is to be appointed by the Rules Committee and the Subordinate Court Rules Committee by notification in the Gazette,” he said.
Lim explained that the increase in court fees will only come into force simultaneously with the enforcement of amendments to the Subordinate Court Act 1948, which was passed by Parliament in 2010.
The amendments, among others, would increase the jurisdiction of the magistrate courts to hear civil cases up to RM100,000 and the sessions court to hear cases up to RM1 million, compared to RM25,000 and RM250,000 previously.
The Rules of Court 2012, which combines the 1980 High Court Rules and the 1980 Subordinate Court Rules, is to facilitate and standardise civil case procedures in court.
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