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By Dan Rudy 

Court fee changes to take effect in August


This month the Alaska Court System (ACS) announced that a variety of court and other legal fees will be changing, in light of cuts to the state budget. The Alaska Supreme Court decided in June to approve the increases, which take effect August 1.

Filing notice of appeal or cross-appeal, petition or cross-petition for review, original proceedings, and petition for hearing now cost $200, up from $150. Filing an appeal or petition for review, as well as filing any civil case, also costs $200 under the new schedule.

Filing fees for district court jurisdiction will cost $125, while small claims actions for $2,500 or less will cost $50 and those above will cost $100 to file.

Adoption proceedings will cost $100 to file, and cost for a guardianship, conservatorship, or other protective proceeding—not including involuntary commitment or certain other filings—have gone from $75 to $100.

For the first time, issuing writs of execution and filing motions to modify child custody, visitation or support will cost $50; previously, these services were free. The fee for writs of execution will cover administrative costs, and the charge is nonrefundable.

There will not be a fee charged for filing either a judicial bypass appeal or written notice of appeal or petition for review of decision involving claims for benefits under the Employment Security Act. No fees will be charged for filing petitions for appointment of a temporary property custodian or petition to bypass parental consent to an abortion, or for lodging a temporary property custodian affidavit and inventory.

Document services fees have also increased, with copy fees per document increasing to $5 for the first and $2 for each subsequent copy. Certification will cost $10, and records research will now cost $30 per hour.

“This is not all of them, but this is the majority of those people use,” explained Chris Ellis, magistrate judge in Wrangell. A complete list of the changes can be found online at http://www.courts.alaska.gov/sco1861leg.pdf. Current court rules are posted at http://www.courts.alaska.gov/rules.htm#1.

The court system will be implementing other cost-saving measures as well, following the $3.4 million cut to its FY16 operating budget agreed to in a special legislative session last month.

ACS will implement statewide court closures the day after Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas, though they will remain open and accessible for emergency proceedings. This year the closures will take place on Nov. 27 and Dec. 24, respectively. The court will continue to conduct arraignments and emergency proceedings on these days, but most staff will be placed on unpaid leave.

ACS anticipates the move will generate “significant cost savings,” with a review to take place early next year. The courts will then assess whether additional full- or partial-closure days will be needed.


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