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Do prisoners have to pay to bring applications in court?

There are court filing fees that prisoners should be aware of before bringing applications in court.

In the Federal Court, it costs $50 to have a notice of application issued. There are additional fees for setting hearing dates, bringing a motion to extend the time to file, etc.

In the Superior Court of Justice, there may be a filing fees as well. For example, if a habeas corpus application is brought under the civil registry, then the civil $229 filing fee may be required. Other fees may be required to file documents and set hearing dates. However, matters filed in the criminal registry often don’t come with such fees.

These fees can be significant for prisoners, who often make only a few dollars per day. Prisoners bringing such applications should consider applying for a fee waiver, if available. These fees may not be covered by legal aid.

In addition to these fees, prisoners should also be aware that costs can be awarded in many applications. That means if the prisoner is unsuccessful, he or she may be ordered to pay the other side (e.g. the Attorney General of Canada) for the costs of responding to the application. Costs can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

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