Federal Appeal


Filing fee was over five weeks’ pay for inmate appellant

Appellant was self-represented inmate who had been in jail for 21 years. Appellant’s pay in jail was $52.50 per two weeks, which was subject to deductions. Appellant could no longer afford to call family as regularly due to new deductions and family did not have car to visit him in jail. Appellant had borrowed money to pay for cardiac care and university education for his children. Appellant brought motion to waive $50 filing fee for filing notice of appeal. Motion granted. Court had jurisdiction to grant relief sought. Two competing principles considered were right of access to court and need to charge fees for services rendered. Only in special circumstances could court depart from requirement to pay fees. Adverse exercise of discretion would foreclose access to courts by whole class of inmate. Appellant had been declared vexatious litigant but he had sought leave to commence proceedings. Appellant remained entitled to access to courts. Filing fee was over five weeks’ net pay for appellant before he tended to other significant expenses. Court exercised its discretion in favour of granting fee waiver.

Fabrikant v. Canada

(Apr. 2, 2014, F.C.A., David Stratas J.A., File No. A-338-13) 239 A.C.W.S. (3d) 839.

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