Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule Update

 

New Bankruptcy Fees to Take Effect June 1

Several bankruptcy fees will increase on June 1, under amendments to the Bankruptcy Court Miscellaneous Fee Schedule that were approved in March by the Judicial Conference of the United States. The scheduled changes include:

  • A $57 increase to the adversary filing fee in bankruptcy proceedings, from $293 to $350. The new fee will be equivalent to civil filing fees in federal district courts.
  • A new, differentiated administrative fee structure will be assessed at filing in every bankruptcy case. Currently $46 in all cases, the administrative fee will be $75 for cases filed under Chapters 7, 12 and 13, and $550 for cases filed under Chapters 9, 11 and 15.

The Judicial Conference also approved separate administrative fees when married couples divide a bankruptcy filing into two cases, often because a divorce or separation occurs while a case is being adjudicated.

The schedule for the new rate structure, effective June 1, is available here. The existing schedule, valid through May 31, is available here.

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Judiciary Restores Pay Rates for Panel Attorneys | United States Courts

http://news.uscourts.gov/judiciary-restores-pay-rates-panel-attorneys

The hourly pay rates for lawyers who represent indigent defendants in federal criminal cases, which were temporarily reduced last year, have been restored, effective March 1, 2014. In an emergency move last August, the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States reduced the rates for court-appointed panel attorneys by $15 an hour. The Committee described the step as “undesirable,” but “necessary to avoid permanent damage to the federal defender program.”
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The hourly rates also include a one-percent increase, consistent with the one percent Employment Cost Index increase for all federal employees. As a result, for work performed on or after March 1, 2014, hourly panel attorney rates will increase to $126 for non-capital representations and $180 for capital representations.

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Citing Emergency, Judiciary Cuts Fees for Court-Appointed Lawyers | United States Courts

In an emergency move to preserve Federal Defender staffing in FY 2014, the Executive Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States has reduced hourly rates for court-appointed panel attorneys by $15 an hour. Payments to panel attorneys for up to four weeks of work done in FY 2014 will be deferred to FY 2015. An Aug. 16 letter described the moves as temporary and undesirable, but said they “are necessary to avoid permanent damage to the federal defender program.”

 

Read the letter (pdf).

More news on sequestration and the courts >>>

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Funding Cuts Will Compromise Federal Courts, Judges Tell Congress | United States Courts

A federal judge today told Congressional appropriators of sequestration’s dire consequences for the federal courts; “the Judiciary cannot continue to operate at such drastically reduced funding levels without seriously compromising the Constitutional mission of the federal courts.”

 

Judge Julia S. Gibbons, chair of the Judicial Conference Budget Committee, testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, along with Judge Thomas F. Hogan, Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

 

“We cannot reduce our work if we face deep funding cuts,” Judge Gibbons told the subcommittee.  “We must adjudicate all cases that are filed with the courts, we must protect the community by supervising defendants awaiting trial and criminals on post-conviction release, we must provide qualified defense counsel for defendants who cannot afford representation, we must pay jurors. . . and ensure the safety and security of court staff, litigants, and the public in federal court facilities.”  Resources are needed to perform this work.

 

The Judiciary seeks $7.22 billion in appropriations, a 2.6 percent overall increase above the assumed fiscal year 2013 appropriations levels. This is the lowest requested increase on record and as Judge Gibbons pointed out, “the minimum amount required to meet our Constitutional and statutory responsibilities.” The request also represents a current services budget that limits the growth of the Judiciary’s largest account, the Salaries and Expenses that funds the bulk of court operations, to  just 2.3 percent. The increase does not restore any of the 1,800 staff lost over the last 18 months as a result of budget constraints.

 

Judges Gibbons and Hogan identified the Judiciary’s on-going cost-containment efforts in helping to limit the growth of the Judiciary’s budget. Among the initiatives are sharing administrative services among the courts, aggressively pursuing space reduction policies, including releasing space in underutilized non-resident facilities, and promoting the use of case budgeting to reduce defender services costs.

 

“I must point out, however,” Judge Gibbons said, “that while cost containment has been helpful during the last several years of flat budgets, no amount of cost containment will offset the major reductions we face from sequestration.”

 

Judge Gibbons urged the subcommittee in its deliberations to take into account the Judiciary’s unique Constitutional role “and the importance to our citizenry of an open, accessible, and well-functioning federal courts system. . . . If sufficient funding is not provided to the courts, we cannot provide the people of the United States the type of justice system that has been a hallmark of our liberty throughout our nation’s history.”

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