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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: May 11, 2017 09:04 AM
From: Representative John Taylor
To: All House members
Subject: First Judicial District Fees
I plan to introduce a bill in the near future that will assist the First Judicial District in providing constitutionally and statutory mandated services.

My bill will allow court administrators, with the approval of the president judge, to establish, modify or eliminate fees and charges. The provision would be consistent with provisions currently applicable to Second Class Counties. Currently, a change to fees in First Class County must be done by general legislation. Incredibly, many fees have not been increased since 1984, and not one has been increased since 2009.

The bill will also amend the Philadelphia Law Library Fee by directing that 33% to 50% of the amount collected by used for court-appointed counsel and indigent representation. Consistent with that purpose, it imposes a 10% fee on civil filings, to be used primarily for the payment of court appointed counsel and indigent representation. Up to 10% of this fee may be used for continuing the process of automating certain processes in order to increase administrative efficiency in the judicial district.

Due to all too familiar budget constraints, payment for the court-appointed defense bar has been problematic for several years. Compensation rates are very low, and the court has sometimes struggled with being able to make timely payment for services. This situation makes it difficult to provide counsel in appropriate cases, which jeopardizes access to the courts and critical legal defense for those who can lease afford it.

Please join me in supporting legislation that will allow for modest fee increases and the redirection of existing funds to where they are most needed.