05242018CM0359 rA measure sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe to simplify Illinois’ complicated court fee system recently cleared the Senate.

Because court fees in Illinois vary greatly among counties, House Bill 4594 aims to standardize them by establishing four categories for civil fees and fines and 13 categories for criminal and traffic cases.

“Court fees should not be so confusing that they prevent people from accessing the justice system,” Mulroe (D-Chicago) said. “This measure creates a uniform system that will increase efficiency.”

If signed into law, the changes to the fee structure would not take effect until July 1, 2019, allowing ample time for counties to adjust.

The legislation is based on the findings of the Statutory Court Fee Task Force, which Mulroe helped create in 2013. The task force was established to evaluate statutory fees on litigants and present recommendations to the General Assembly.

The task force found that courts have been passing on administrative court costs to the parties that bring court cases. It also found that court fees have increased at a rate that outpaces inflation and that there is excessive variation across the state for these assessments. The high price tag and disparities on these fees have a disproportionate effect on low-income residents.

House Bill 4594 passed the Senate with a vote of 45-8.

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