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Court fee inquiry denied

Media Release
Penny Wright 29 Nov 2012

The Senate's rejection of a move to examine federal court fee increases as high as 341 per cent is a blow to low-income and ordinary Australians, said Australian Greens spokesperson on Legal Affairs Senator Penny Wright.

"Increasingly, Australians are being excluded from the court system because they cannot afford legal representation and court fees," Senator Wright said.

 "I am concerned about how general fee increases of 20 per cent for family law matters will affect people accessing the legal options open to them and I am very disappointed the Senate chose not look into the impact of rising court fees further.

"Applications for divorce are proposed to rise 38.6 per cent from $577 to $800, but a real worry is that divorce application fees for people on low incomes will be more than four times higher - jumping from $60 to $265.

"Being able to initiate divorce proceedings is particularly important for women escaping from abusive or violent relationships and there is significant concern that increases of this magnitude could now be prohibitive.

"The Australian Greens will continue to advocate for improved access to justice and we will revisit this issue in the New Year."


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