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Florida Supreme Court Rejects Proposal for Increased Bar Fees
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Florida Bar

Summary: With a lack of funding to support the state’s legal-aid programs, a proposal was made to increase Bar fees to help support funding.

A proposal by former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero and supported by over 500 lawyers was rejected by the Florida Supreme Court. The proposal would have allowed the Bar to charge an additional $100 a year to provide extra funding for the legal-aid programs in the state. The current dues are at $265 a year. The Bar did not support this proposal.

  
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The Justices split the vote 4-3 acknowledged that “there is an urgent need to develop new solutions and sustainable sources of funding for legal aid.” They wrote that there needed to be a more complete approach to the need than just raising Bar dues.

The dissenting Justices made a point that while “lawyers of this state cannot and should not be required to be the group of individuals solely and exclusively responsible for the monetary needs or programs necessary to provide access to justice for all Florida citizens” this proposal would have been a simple tool to provide “relief and a safety net” to those most needy.

In the past few years, there has been a growing need for legal services for the needy but less funding has been coming in to support the need. The Florida Bar Foundation currently takes the interest from lawyers’ trust accounts to fund the aid programs. Interest rates are low right now, causing a reduction in revenue to be used.

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Source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-fla-court-rejects-fee-hike-legal-costs-20150710-story.html

Photo: floridabar.org





 

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