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FAQ: How much are civil filing fees?

March 16, 2022

By Bill Raftery

All federal courts in the United States have a standard, uniform fee to initiate a civil action. From Alaska to Florida, including the territories, $402 (as of March 2022) is the same fee for all federal courts. However, the fee to initiate a civil case in state courts varies widely from state to state, and sometimes even within the same state depending on a host of factors. As a result, some states are abandoning the practice of offering a document with multiple options for such fees and replacing them with online calculators after many complaints from users citing confusion. NCSC has researched each state to provide the links, if available, for your reference.

Multiple factors cause fees to vary.  First, most states set their civil filing fees based on the type of case involved. A contract dispute may cost more (or less) than a personal injury case. Consequently, it is not at all uncommon to see court fee tables that list as many as a dozen separate categories with various fees based solely on case type.

Next, several states will differentiate fees based on the amount sought. For example, “small claims” cases will typically cost less than other civil cases. However, because each state defines for itself the amount of a “small claim,” state-to-state comparisons are difficult. A small claim can be as high as $25,000 (Delaware Justice of the Peace Court and Tennessee General Sessions Court) or as low as $2,500 (Kentucky District Court, Small Claims Division).

For larger amounts, states may have a tiered system of fees. Oregon Circuit Courts, for example, have five tiers of filings ranging from $170 (cases below $10,000) to $1,178 (cases over $10,000,000).

Finally, the fees are related to statewide filing fees and do not reflect the multitude of mandatory and optional state and local fees that may be a factor. For example, Oklahoma allows counties to impose an optional additional fee up to $10 “for the purpose of enhancing existing or providing additional courthouse security.” Other fees are required to initiate a civil case but not formally a part of the “filing fee.”

As a result of the potential for confusion due to these factors, at least two states have moved towards the creation of civil filing fee calculators. Virginia, for example, has two separate calculators, one for its Circuit Courts and another for its District Courts. Users input the county, case type, the number of defendants or parties, and other data and are presented with the exact amount they must pay. Minnesota has a similar system whereby users can select the county and case type to see a list of fees.

What steps are your courts taking to minimize confusion of the costs for civil filing fees? Let us know at  Knowledge@ncsc.org or call 800-616-6164. Follow the National Center for State Courts on FacebookTwitterInstagram, LinkedIn , and Vimeo.

A list of all state-level filing fee charts or calculators is available below. NOTE: links and data are accurate as of March 7, 2022.

State

Civil Filing Fees Information AS OF MARCH 7, 2022

Alabama

https://perma.cc/6B2X-CRLJ

Alaska

https://perma.cc/BL26-JWD9

American Samoa

No data

Arizona Justice Court

https://perma.cc/W5RN-M5Y2

Arizona Municipal Court

https://perma.cc/5XKY-FKM6

Arizona Superior Court

https://perma.cc/R83G-QPZC

Arkansas

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

California

https://perma.cc/AY22-YJ22

Colorado

https://perma.cc/846N-BAGS

Connecticut

https://perma.cc/KV3Z-TZS6

Delaware Court of Common Pleas

https://perma.cc/BRT3-KBZU

Delaware Superior Court

https://perma.cc/354Q-8FFQ

District of Columbia

https://perma.cc/NP7P-MBNK

Florida

https://perma.cc/6SJ5-AJCZ

Georgia

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Guam

https://perma.cc/ZKV5-K2ZD

Hawaii

https://perma.cc/NSJ5-L43P

Idaho

https://perma.cc/N6Y3-LVSC

Illinois

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Indiana

https://perma.cc/A3EN-6UFL

Iowa

https://perma.cc/VPJ7-AWFQ

Kansas

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Kentucky

https://perma.cc/6PHQ-VKY6

Louisiana

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Maine

https://perma.cc/CTX8-P7WP

Maryland Circuit

https://perma.cc/J3UM-WLH3

Maryland District

https://perma.cc/H6YH-72MS

Massachusetts

https://perma.cc/S786-DAQK

Michigan

https://perma.cc/DE29-JGTF

Minnesota

https://perma.cc/8FMQ-JH3B

Mississippi

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Missouri

https://perma.cc/UC7E-LLWL

Montana

https://perma.cc/HF5A-7U92

Nebraska

https://perma.cc/Z9NS-4KL7

Nevada

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

New Hampshire

https://perma.cc/JXQ6-8U4X

New Jersey

https://perma.cc/2QMH-DAJP

New Mexico District Court

https://perma.cc/47SR-8VYB

New York

https://perma.cc/7EWU-JBZE

North Carolina

https://perma.cc/M73G-ZV2Q

North Dakota

https://perma.cc/9Z9J-KF4C

Northern Mariana Islands

https://perma.cc/4QFU-EFT4

Ohio

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Oklahoma

https://perma.cc/NX8P-56M3

Oregon

https://perma.cc/PXQ7-UFD7

Pennsylvania

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Puerto Rico

https://perma.cc/Z52H-7WU5

Rhode Island

https://perma.cc/APG9-EPS9

South Carolina

https://perma.cc/L9P9-4UFW

South Dakota

https://perma.cc/G6ZM-5ZV4

Tennessee

https://perma.cc/8RRM-6WGE

Texas County Courts

https://perma.cc/925X-3QX7

Texas District Courts

https://perma.cc/8RJ7-36J8

Texas Justice Courts

https://perma.cc/TZ98-Z47X

US Virgin Islands

https://perma.cc/53BZ-8MDP

Utah

https://perma.cc/N9U9-9CUG

Vermont

https://perma.cc/79Y6-HALT

Virginia Circuit Court

https://perma.cc/PZ7X-KHHU

Virginia District Court

https://perma.cc/VQT4-9DQT

Washington

https://perma.cc/NN3F-HQSD

West Virginia

No data: county by county fee documents may be available

Wisconsin

https://perma.cc/L5GS-ZF5T

Wyoming

https://perma.cc/7ZSA-PU7L