Fee Hikes and Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure Amended

By William Peacock, Esq. on December 04, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We'll keep this little update quick for all of you who practice in federal courts, especially the appellate branches.

Starting this week, fee hikes kick in. Yes, your clients will be paying more, unless you work for the government. And yes, that's the same government that funds the courts with your taxes, and shut down earlier this year (exhausting all reserve funds in the courts). They still get in the door fee-free, while private citizens pay the tab.

And the long-awaited amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure kick in this month as well, which means the local rules have to be tweaked to match.

Price Hikes

During the shutdown, the federal court system survived on fumes and fees. Now, with exhausted reserves and an already over-strained budget, the system is raising rates.

Starting December 1, docketing appeals, reviews, or any other procedure is now $500, rather than $450. And a court records search will really cost you (or your client). The flat fee of $53, is now $64 for the first box of records, and $39 for any additional boxes.

Finally, instead of charging $53 for a check returned due to insufficient funds, the fee applies to any bounced payment.

Federal Rule Trickle Down

Thanks to a system-wide set of amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, the Fourth Circuit local rules are being changed as well, to match.

The highlights include merging the statement of the case and the statement of facts into a single section, which should give your over-burdened associate the freedom to discuss the case in chronological order, stream of consciousness, or iambic pentameter. 

Tax court procedures, including interlocutory appeals and clarifying language that implied that the tax court was an executive administrative agency, rather than, well, a court.

And, last and least important to practicing attorneys, for those applying to proceed in forma pauperis, the form has been slightly tweaked.

The full list of changes can be found in a bulletin issued by the court on Monday morning.

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