Thursday, 2 August 2012

Court fees go up drastically

Lawyers say they are caught by surprise.
KUALA LUMPUR: Revised court fees came into force yesterday, making it much more expensive for the public to initiate legal proceedings.
The new fees, which come under the Rules of Court 2012, are between 100% and 300% higher than the old fees.
For example, the cost of filing a writ of summons to commence an action has gone up from RM200 to RM400. For sealing an originating summons, the rise is from RM80 to RM160.
The most drastic increase—from RM100 to RM400—is for extracting a grant of probate or a letter of administration.
Senior lawyers said they were caught by surprise.
Lawyer Jagjit Singh said it would not be possible for the law firms to absorb the increases.
“Certainly the cost of filing will go up with the amended fees,” he said, adding that it would now be more expensive and therefore difficult for citizens to exercise their right to seek legal redress to their grievances.
The last fee increase was in 1980. Jagjit admitted that a revision was due, but said the new fees seemed unreasonable and unjustifiable.
“The burden will fall on litigants,” he said.
Another senior lawyer, M Manoharan, called on the Rules Committee to reconsider the new fees.
The committee, headed by Chief Justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, includes senior judges, Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, Bar Council President Lim Chee Wee.
“I totally disagree to any increases in fees,” Manoharan said. “The committee never consulted or made any attempt to get inputs from the general public on the matter.”
Another lawyer, M Jegathesan, said the increase might force some people to think twice before seeking redress in court.

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