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RULE 1-325. WAIVER OF COSTS DUE TO INDIGENCE--GENERALLY

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 1. General Provisions
Chapter 300. General Provisions
MD Rules, Rule 1-325
RULE 1-325. WAIVER OF COSTS DUE TO INDIGENCE--GENERALLY
(a) Scope. This Rule applies only to (1) original civil actions in a circuit court or the District Court and (2) requests for relief that are civil in nature filed in a criminal action.
Committee note: Original civil actions in a circuit court include actions governed by the Rules in Title 7, Chapter 200, 300, and 400. Requests for relief that are civil in nature filed in a criminal action include petitions for expungement and requests to shield all or part of a record.
(b) Definition. In this Rule, “prepaid costs” means costs that, unless prepayment is waived pursuant to this Rule, must be paid prior to the clerk's docketing or accepting for docketing a pleading or paper or taking other requested action.
Committee note: “Prepaid costs” may include a fee to file an initial complaint or a motion to reopen a case, a fee for entry of the appearance of an attorney, and any prepaid compensation, fee, or expense of a magistrate or examiner. See Rules 1-501, 2-541, 2-542, 2-603, and 9-208.
(c) No Fee for Filing Request. No filing fee shall be charged for the filing of the request for waiver of prepaid costs pursuant to section (d) or (e) of this Rule.
(d) Waiver of Prepaid Costs by Clerk. On written request, the clerk shall waive the prepayment of prepaid costs, without the need for a court order, if:
(1) the party is an individual who is represented (A) by an attorney retained through a pro bono or legal services program on a list of programs serving low income individuals that is submitted by the Maryland Legal Services Corporation to the State Court Administrator and posted on the Judiciary website, provided that an authorized agent of the program provides the clerk with a statement that (i) names the program, attorney, and party; (ii) states that the attorney is associated with the program and the party meets the financial eligibility criteria of the Corporation; and (iii) attests that the payment of filing fees is not subject to Code, Courts Article, § 5-1002 (the Prisoner Litigation Act), or (B) by an attorney provided by the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. or the Office of the Public Defender, and
(2) except for an attorney employed or appointed by the Office of the Public Defender in a civil action in which that Office is required by statute to represent the party, the attorney certifies that, to the best of the attorney's knowledge, information, and belief, there is good ground to support the claim, application, or request for process and it is not interposed for any improper purpose or delay.
Committee note: The Public Defender represents indigent individuals in a number of civil actions. See Code, Criminal Procedure Article, § 16-204 (b).
Cross reference: See Rule 1-311 (b) and Rule 3.1 of the Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct.
(e) Waiver of Prepaid Costs by Court.
(1) Request for Waiver. An individual unable by reason of poverty to pay a prepaid cost and not subject to a waiver under section (d) of this Rule may file a request for an order waiving the prepayment of the prepaid cost. The request shall be accompanied by (A) the pleading or paper sought to be filed; (B) an affidavit substantially in the form approved by the State Court Administrator, posted on the Judiciary website, and available in the Clerks' offices; and (C) if the individual is represented by an attorney, the attorney's certification that, to the best of the attorney's knowledge, information, and belief, there is good ground to support the claim, application, or request for process and it is not interposed for any improper purpose or delay.
Cross reference: See Rule 1-311 (b) and Rule 3.1 of the Maryland Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct.
(2) Review by Court; Factors to be Considered. The court shall review the papers presented and may require the individual to supplement or explain any of the matters set forth in the papers. In determining whether to grant a prepayment waiver, the court shall consider:
(A) whether the individual has a family household income that qualifies under the client income guidelines for the Maryland Legal Services Corporation for the current year, which shall be posted on the Judiciary website; and
(B) any other factor that may be relevant to the individual's ability to pay the prepaid cost.
(3) Order; Payment of Unwaived Prepaid Costs. If the court finds that the party is unable by reason of poverty to pay the prepaid cost and that the pleading or paper sought to be filed does not appear, on its face, to be frivolous, it shall enter an order waiving prepayment of the prepaid cost. In its order, the court shall state the basis for granting or denying the request for waiver. If the court denies, in whole or in part, a request for the waiver of its prepaid costs, it shall permit the party, within 10 days, to pay the unwaived prepaid cost. If, within that time, the party pays the full amount of the unwaived prepaid costs, the pleading or paper shall be deemed to have been filed on the date the request for waiver was filed. If the unwaived prepaid costs are not paid in full within the time allowed, the pleading or paper shall be deemed to have been withdrawn.
(f) Award of Costs at Conclusion of Action.
(1) Generally. At the conclusion of an action, the court and the clerk shall allocate and award costs as required or permitted by law.
Cross reference: See Rules 2-603, 3-603, 7-116, and Mattison v. Gelber, 202 Md. App. 44 (2011).
(2) Waiver.
(A) Request. At the conclusion of an action, a party may seek a final waiver of open costs, including any unpaid appearance fee, by filing a request for the waiver, together with (i) an affidavit substantially in the form prescribed by subsection (e)(1)(B) of this Rule, or (ii) if the party was granted a waiver of prepayment of prepaid costs by court order pursuant to section (e) of this Rule and remains unable to pay the costs, an affidavit that recites the existence of the prior waiver and the party's continued inability to pay by reason of poverty.
(B) Determination by Court. In an action under Title 9, Chapter 200 of these Rules or Title 10 of these Rules, the court shall grant a final waiver of open costs if the requirements of Rules 2-603(e) or 10-107(b), as applicable, are met. In all other civil matters, the court may grant a final waiver of open costs if the party against whom the costs are assessed is unable to pay them by reason of poverty.
Source: This Rule is new.

Credits

[Adopted April 6, 1984, eff. July 1, 1984. Amended Nov. 19, 1987, eff. July 1, 1988; June 3, 1988, eff. July 1, 1988; June 4, 1991, eff. July 1, 1991; June 6, 2000, eff. Oct. 1, 2000; March 5, 2001, eff. July 1, 2001. Rescinded and re-adopted March 2, 2015, eff. July 1, 2015. Amended Sept. 17, 2015, eff. Jan. 1, 2016; June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016; Dec. 13, 2016, eff. Apr. 1, 2017.]
MD Rules, Rule 1-325, MD R GEN Rule 1-325
Current with amendments received through December 1, 2022. Some sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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