87009-8 Jafar v. Webb (Majority)- WSSC 5-23-13

Justia Opinion Summary

Abeda Jafar filed an action in superior court to obtain a parenting plan involving her 19-month old son. She also filed a motion under GR 34 to waive all mandatory fees and surcharges on the basis of indigency. The trial court found that Jafar was indigent, but granted her only a partial waiver of the fees and surcharges. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether under GR 34 trial courts had discretion to grant partial waivers of fees and surcharges. The Court held that GR 34 provided a uniform standard for determining whether an individual is indigent, and further required the court to waive all fees and costs for individuals who meet this standard. Accordingly, the Court vacated and remanded the trial court’s order with instructions to waive all filing fees and surcharges.

Jafar v. Webb 87009-8 View Document

Note on page 6 the following:

GR 34(a) provides, in part, “Any individual, on the basis of indigent status
as defined herein, may seek a waiver of filing fees or surcharges the payment of
which is a condition precedent to a litigant’s ability to secure access to judicial
relief from a judicial officer in the applicable trial court.”

A court clerk is a quasi-judicial official. Thus, fee wavers are well within their authority as such. The Jafar ruling mandates indigents w/forma Pauperis orders be exempted from ancillary fees beyond filing fees as noted..

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