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Plan To Improve Access To Jusice

16 August 2001

Media release - Justice and Electoral Committee

Plan To Improve Access To Jusice -

Public comment invited on Court Fees (Waiver) Bill

Parliament's Justice and Electoral Committee is inviting public submissions on the Court Fees (Waiver) Bill. The closing date for submissions is Monday 27 August 2001.

The purpose of the bill is to help ensure that people are not denied access to the court system simply because they lack the means to pay court fees. The bill introduces a new power to make regulations enabling fees to be waived, reduced, or postponed in District Courts. The need for law allowing fees to be waived in the District Court came to attention during the current review of court fees, but is independent of the issue of the level of fees.

The committee is particularly interested to receive comment on:

- Whether criteria for waiving, reducing or postponing fees should be set out in the legislation.

- Whether there should be a review process of a decision in regard to waiving, reducing, or postponing the payment of fees.

- What experience individuals or organisations have of the current use of waiver of fees.

Tim Barnett, Chair of the Justice and Electoral Committee, said today, “This is a short and precise bill which seeks to tidy an anomaly. The Appeal Court and High Court can waive fees; the District Court cannot. At stake is consistency of rules and access to justice.’

Contact for further details:

Tim Barnett (Chair) on ƒv 0274 570 809

Wendy Proffitt on ƒv 04 471 9539 or SC-JE@parliament.govt.nz

Notes concerning submissions to the Justice and Electoral Select Committee

Copies of the bill can be purchased from Bennetts Government Bookshops or ordered from other booksellers.

The committee prefers 20 copies of each submission. Those wishing to include any information of a private or personal nature in a submission should first discuss this with the clerk of the committee, as submissions are usually released to the public by the committee. Those wishing to appear before the committee to speak to their submissions should state this clearly and provide a daytime telephone contact number. For further guidance on making a submission, our publication Making a Submission to a Parliamentary Select Committee can be found on our web site at www.clerk.parliament.govt.nz.

Submissions should be addressed to:

Wendy Proffitt

Clerk of the Justice and Electoral Committee

Parliament House

WELLINGTON


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