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Court fee hikes hit hardest those in greatest need

Media Release
Penny Wright 2 Apr 2013

Disadvantaged Australians are being hit hardest by Family Court fee rises, according to submissions made to a Senate Inquiry chaired by Australian Greens spokesperson on legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

Fee increases of more than 300 per cent for divorce applications could have significant impacts on victims of domestic violence, the Inquiry has been told.

"Cost is the most common barrier to people seeking legal help," Senator Wright said. "There are concerns that court fee increases will delay victims of domestic violence from seeking divorce while they save week-by-week for the costs.

 "The most recent set of Family Court fee increases have hit hardest those who can least afford to pay, with divorce application fees for people on low incomes more than four times higher - jumping from $60 to $265.

"All Australians should be able to seek legal assistance based on the merit of their claim and not the size of their wallet.

"The Senate Inquiry is still taking submissions and we hope we will be able to hear from many more people about the impact of these price increases."

 Submissions to the Senate Inquiry on the Impact of federal court fee increases since 2010 on access to justice in Australia can be found here.

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