Michigan: Bills to pay for state’s e-court program pass Senate committee; civil fees would go up $5-$25 for next 5 years

A group of bills to pay for and implement Michigan’s e-courts program cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday. SB 531, SB 532, and SB 533 together would

  • Create a temporary (5 years) e-filing fee on all civil cases: $25 for Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Court of Claims, Circuit Court, and Probate Court; $20/$10/$5 for District Court (depending on type and amount of civil claim)
  • Government entities would not be required to pay the fees. The fee could be waived due to indigence/inability to pay
  • Courts or court funding units already charging an electronic filing fee can continue to do so until December 2016
  • All fees generated to go to state Judicial Electronic Filing Fund under the control of the Supreme Court
  • Allows local courts to apply to the State Court Administrative Office to access and use money from the Fund
  • Allows Supreme Court to select a qualified vendor for the electronic filing system based on competitive bidding
  • Allows local courts to accept automated payments and for the clerk to charge for any fee associated (merchant transaction fee or 3% of the automated payment, whichever was less)

One committee amendment is of note. Amendment 1 of SB 533 would prohibit courts from charging a fee to retrieve and inspect a document on site, including a document that was filed electronically, but would be allowed to charge a fee to copy a document.

All three bills are now pending on the Senate floor.