Sessions Information

  • January 4, 2019
    9:00 am - 12:15 pm
    Session Type: AALS Symposiums
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: Hilton New Orleans Riverside
    Room: Commerce
    Floor: Third Floor

    For sessions and speaker details, please see the complete listing under extended programs. 

    This symposium, co-sponsored by the Sections on Civil Procedure, Tax, Bankruptcy, and Criminal Justice, examines how courts are financed and the growing reliance on user fees, whether for filing or defending civil cases; charges imposed on criminal defendants such as “registration fees” for “free” lawyers; the imposition of both civil and criminal “fines”; and the use of money bail. We explore whether and how constitutional democracies can meet their obligations to make justice accessible, both to participants and to the public, in light of the numbers seeking help from courts, high arrest and detention rates, declining government budgets, and shifting ideologies about the utility and desirability of accessible courts. These topics have prompted the creation of national and state task forces; litigation (including challenges to detention of individuals eligible for release but lacking funds to secure bail bonds, and the automatic losses of drivers’ licenses for nonpayment of fines); and a mix of economic, political, and legal analyses probing the effects of “court debt.”

    For those interested in reading cases and commentary in advance, a 2018 volume, Who Pays? Fines, Fees, Bail, and The Costs of Courts, is available at Many other articles are available and, in advance of the symposium, we plan to provide a bibliography with additional readings. 

    An edited set of essays will be published after the symposium in the North Carolina Law Review.

    Business meeting for Section on Civil Procedure at program conclusion.

Session Speakers

Speaker information is not available at this time.

Session Fees
  • [4130] AALS Symposium - Court Debt: Fines, Fees, and Bail, Circa 2020 : $0.00