Justice Isn’t Cheap, Especially in British Columbia, Canada …

In British Columbia, Canada, divorce and custody litigation – or, for that matter, any litigation – can be really expensive.

It’s not the legal fees, as some might leap to conclude.

It’s the court clerk fees, which are substantially higher than elsewhere in Canada.

A litigant must rent the courtroom.

That might run $15,000, payable in advance.

And then there is the cost of the jury.

That might run $25,000, also payable in advance.

And then there might be the cost of witnesses.

That might run another $15,000, also payable in advance.

Giving new meaning to the cliche, “justice isn’t cheap”…

Husband and Wife are from England, but have been living with Child in British Columbia, Canada.

When the marriage breaks down, Wife wants to take Child to live in Europe.

The Court rules that the Child should remain in British Columbia.

Wife is awarded transitional alimony.

At the ten day trial, both parties represent themselves.

At the end of it, Wife asks the Court to waive a court fee … of $3,600.

Chaos in the courtroom.

Wife was supposed to pay in advance.

Court will now consider whether British Columbian court fees are unconstitutional as impeding access to the courts.

There is some Canadian authority to support that conclusion.

Wife is unemployed, but not indigent.

Court wishes to hear from the Attorney General and stays payment of the fee until it does so.

Read more in this Vancouver Sun article: Do B.C.’s court costs impede justice?.