The World Assembly:
CONVINCED that providing a system for resolving civil disputes is one of the primary purposes of government;
APPLAUDING the varied and admirable systems of civil justice that exist in every member nation;
AWARE that all civil justice systems have an attendant cost that is paid for by taxes, filing charges, and other court fees;
CONCERNED that court costs can be very expensive and that some individuals, because of their limited resources or means, may be unable to afford filing or court fees;
RESOLVED that an individual’s socioeconomic background should not determine their access to justice, and that an individual should not be deprived of access to civil courts simply because they are unable to afford court costs;
DEFINES “court costs” for the purposes of this act, as “the costs and fees charged by a court (or other civil justice system) directly to a litigant for services rendered by the court.” Examples of court costs include, but are not limited to: filing fees, service fees, court reporter charges, court transcripts, copying costs, and other similar expenses charged by the court.
ENCOURAGES member nations to fund their civil justice systems in a manner that completely avoids passing court costs directly onto litigants;
ENCOURAGES member nations to permit a successful litigant to recover the court costs they incur from the losing party;
MANDATES that if a member nation requires the payment of court costs, prior to the assessing those costs a litigant is entitled to request a cost wavier and/or deferment. Any individual whose request demonstrates that paying court costs would present a severe financial hardship, given their particular economic situation, shall be permitted to proceed with their case regardless of whether they have paid court costs.