Legislative Proposal to Lower and Fix Litigation Fees
March 18, 2010
Japan Federation of Bar Associations
About this Legislative Proposal
According to a survey of its members conducted by the Japan Federation of Bar Associations (JFBA) regarding litigation fees, over 70% of respondents considered current litigation fee level to be financial burdens for their clients, depending on the amounts of the claims involved, while more than 75% responded that the current level and makeup of litigation fees needed to be modified. As can be clearly evinced from the survey’s results, a great majority of attorneys see the need to modify the current litigation fee system.
In recent times, litigation fees have not been lowered sufficiently, although they were revised twice in 1992 and 2003. In addition, the current sliding fee system without a cap on fees is still being maintained from the standpoint that beneficiaries should bear the burden of litigation fees while at the same time aiming to prevent vexatious litigation.
Under the sliding fee system without a fee-cap, the higher the amount claimed, the higher the litigation fees payable become. As shown by the results of the above mentioned survey, this fee system may be proving to be an obstacle in the filing of civil lawsuits while also infringing upon the public’s right to a fair trial and access to justice.
Accordingly, the JFBA adopted its Legislative Proposal to Lower and Fix Litigation Fees on March 18, 2010, and submitted it to the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Justice on March 23, 2010.
Main Points of this Legislative Proposal
- A capping system should be introduced to limit litigation fees as well as drastically lowering and fixing them.
- The maximum litigation fee should be fixed at 100,000 yen for claims involving over 500 million yen, while litigation fees for claims in the amount of 500 million yen and less should be categorized into six groups and fixed. The minimum litigation fee should be 1,000 yen for claims involving one million yen or less.
- Appeal fees, which are currently 1.5 times higher than litigation fees, should be lowered to the same levels as litigation fees, with final appeal fees, which are currently double those of litigation fees being lowered to 1.5 times those of the proposed litigation fees.