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Law reform to hit pocket

CIVIL action to recover debts will cost WA businesses a lot more if recommendations recently tabled in parliament are adopted.

The recommendations include making companies pay more to use the courts.

Just the cost of court registration fees is tipped to double.

A privately-funded court system for the corporate sector is also

proposed, limited to cases between parties with equal power to represent themselves effectively.

Additional fees will be charged for registration and enforcement of private court orders.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Lyndon Rowe said it would support the private court proposal providing cases could be handled more quickly and there were cost savings.

Mr Rowe said appearances before such courts should be by informed consent, so it would probably be confined largely to contractual matters.

“Rather than a judge presiding over it, matters before a private civil court would best be adjudicated by licenced, suitably qualified officers with enforcement of orders remaining the jurisdiction of the state,” he said.

Some commentators consider allowing tax deductions for legal fees as a business expense has encouraged unnecessary litigation. This will continue until the deduction is removed.

The present system is said to advantage corporate Australia at the expense of the individual who might not have a business income against which the expenses of the legal action can be offset.

Mr Rowe said court costs should be the same for all users.

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