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  • NJ A3395
  • Revises court filing fees, assessments, penalties, fines, and certain licensing fees to fund Pretrial Services Program, e-court information system and Legal Services of New Jersey; repeals certain statutory provisions concerning court fees.
Introduced
(3/3/2016)
In Committee
(3/3/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill revises court filing fees and other statutory fees some of which were recently increased pursuant to sections 12 through 19 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2B:1-7 through C.2B:1-13). The bill repeals two sections of the 2014 enactment which granted the Supreme Court the limited authority to increase filing fees. Pursuant to the 2014 enactment, certain court filing fees were increased by court rule on October 31, 2014 and revised on December 23, 2014 and February 20, 2015. When the Legislature enacted section 13 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2B:1-8), it provided the Supreme Court with the limited authority to adopt court rules wherein the court would revise and supplement statutory filing fees for the purpose of funding: (1) a Statewide Pretrial Services Program; (2) a Statewide e-court information system; and (3) Legal Services of New Jersey. This authority to increase the court rules expired, pursuant to section 19 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2B:1-13), on the first day of the seventh month next following the date of enactment of P.L.2014, c.31. The date of enactment of P.L.2014, c.31 was August 11, 2014 and the first day of the seventh month after that date was March 1, 2015. The Supreme Court's authority to increase court fees by court rules expired on that date. Therefore, in the view of the sponsor, it is necessary and proper for the Legislature to repeal sections 13 and 19 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2B:1-8 and 2B:1-13) which granted the Court this limited authority. In so doing, the Legislature is exercising its authority to raise revenue by codifying some of the statutory fees which were increased by court rule to maintain and support the Pretrial Services Program, the e-court information system and provide funding for Legal Services. The bill revises the statutory fees in a balanced and fair manner in order to maintain the availability of the courts to all litigants. The fee increases would be spread across all areas of the courts without placing an undue burden on any specific litigant or reducing access to the courts. Some of the filing fees which were increased by court rule would be reduced to the original statutory fee in order to insure that the courts do not become cost-prohibitive. The bill would revise the filing fees for: complaints; cross-claims; notice of appeals; motions; indexing, docketing, accounting and recording of documents; and the filing of other court documents as set forth throughout N.J.S.A.22A:2-1 et seq. The revised fees would be for civil and criminal proceedings in the following courts: Supreme Court; Appellate Division; Superior Court Law Division, Civil Part; Superior Court, Law Division, Special Civil Part; Superior Court, Law Division, Chancery Division (Equity and Family parts); and Superior Court, Law Division, Criminal Part; and other general Superior Court fees and surrogate fees. The bill would also revise criminal assessments, penalties and fines throughout Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes. In addition, the bill would revise certain licensing fees, such as retail dealers licensing fee and fees for permits to purchase and carry handguns. The bill would also reduce certain fees such as the expungement application fee, currently $75, which would be reduced to $50, pursuant to N.J.S.2C:52-29. The revenue derived from the filing fees would continue to be credited in the "21st Century Justice Improvement Fund," established pursuant to section 14 of P.L.2014, c.31 (C.2B:1-9). The allocation of these funds would not be altered from the original enactment's allocation: · $22 million to Pretrial Services Program; · $10 million to the Judiciary for maintenance of the e-court information system; and · $10.1 million to Legal Services. Any amounts remaining in the fund would be retained by the Judiciary for the purpose of developing, maintaining and administering the Pretrial Services Program or for court information technology. The reporting requirements for the Administrative Office of the Courts and Legal Services set forth in sections 17 and 18 of P.L.2014, c.31 (2B:1-11 and 2B:1-12) would be enhanced to require them to take into account the fee increases set forth in the bill.
Judiciary
Assembly Judiciary Hearing (10:00 3/7/2016 Committee Room 12, 4th Floor)  (on 3/7/2016)
 
 
Date Chamber Action Description
3/7/2016 Assembly Judiciary Hearing (10:00 3/7/2016 Committee Room 12, 4th Floor)
3/3/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Judiciary Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified