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The family law courts are chasing more than $1.4 million in unpaid fees amid criticism that increases introduced by the federal government in January are putting pressure on families.
The administration cost of chasing the debt, which includes unpaid daily hearing fees of up to $765 a day after the first day, means some money is likely to be written off.
Richard Foster, chief executive of the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court (formerly the Federal Magistrates Court), the latter of which hears most cases, said he had issued letters to people involved in more than 632 matters asking for about $380,000 in fees to be paid.
”Whilst at this stage the total amount of outstanding fees is still being investigated, initial estimates are in the vicinity of $1.4 million since changes to setting down and hearing fees were introduced in 2010. While the amount is not inconsiderable, it is only a small percentage of the $54 million in fees the Family Court and Federal Circuit collect annually,” he said.
Fees in the courts have increased considerably since 2010 and new fees were introduced in January this year, including $1205 for an application for leave to appeal and $350 for a conciliation conference.
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