Lawyers wail over astronomical court fees

Some lawyers in the country have criticized a huge jump in court filing fees by the judiciary.

The lawyers warned the action will discourage people especially the poor from accessing justice at the court to have their disputes resolved.

Their concern follows what they termed an astronomical increase in filing fees published in a new Constitutional Instrument –C.I. 86. 

The new fees were introduced by the Rules of Court Committee chaired by the Chief Justice according to Article 157 of the 1992 Constitution.

Some angry lawyers want the Ghana Bar Association to step in and have the matter addressed, since failure to do that will only empower people to take the laws into their own hands.

At the Court of Appeals, for instance, filing notice of appeal against a final judgement or decision will cost GHC 100 from GHC25. The cost of filing amendment or additional grounds of appeal was also increased from GHC25 to GHC 100. Fees for filing motion to set aside and re-hear appeal determined ex parte was increased from GHC30 to GHC300.

At the Supreme Court, a petition to challenge election of president jumped from GHC500 to GHC5,000; service document which use to cost GHC50 will now attract a fee of GHC200; writ to invoke original jurisdiction is now GHC 300 from GHC50; filing of statement of case has also been increased from GHC25 to GHC300; and a search at the Supreme Court which used to cost GHC5 will now attract a fee of GHC50.

The public relations officer for the Ghana Bar Association, Tony Forson told Joy News even though members have complained about the astronomical increments, only parliament can intervene to ensure a decrease in the fees.

The Rules of Court Committee is a consultative body with two lawyers on it, he explained, that makes recommendations made and sent to Parliament for approval.

He admitted that there has not been any increment for years now which he said could account for the hike in the fees.

He suggested that lawyers and their clients’ interest would best be served if the increments are done on regular basis.

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