Case Expenses (or Costs)

I. CLS Clients are Responsible for Case Expenses

CLS clients agree to pay the case expenses when they apply for help. Please talk with your CLS client about this issue when you begin your representation. Ask the client to provide you with funds up front to cover anticipated costs.

II. Exception: CLS Can Help with Some Costs

CLS has a modest litigation fund to reimburse volunteer attorneys for the following:

  • Court fees
  • Process service costs
  • Subpoena/witness fees
  • Transcripts
  • Depositions

Please explore all other options before submitting your request, and review the below procedures before incurring any litigation costs on behalf of your CLS clients.  Thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can any of these costs be waived?

CLS can prepare a “Certificate of Indigency” to request the court waive court and e-filing fees.

  • Please see CLS’ Summary of Court Indigency Rules for information on costs that can be:
  • Waived
  • Paid by the court, or
  • Ordered by the court to be paid by the other party to the case
  • Check with your local CLS office concerning the possibility of waiving other costs. For example, both filing fees and service charges are automatically waived when filing for Protection Orders.
  • CLS offices may also have pro bono mediators or other free resources available
  • Other forms for waiver of court fees are available online at the court website – (choose “Forms” and click on “Filing Fees”)
  1. Can CLS help cover any costs?
  • Please ask prior to incurring any costs. CLS staff are required to obtain pre-approval for any litigation expenses. An estimate of costs, along with an explanation of why the client cannot pay these costs, will be needed. We will let you know if payment of costs is approved before the cost is incurred.
  • Once the expenses have been approved for coverage by CLS, please submit documentation of your costs to your local CLS office. We will reimburse you for your expenses, or if you prefer will reimburse another party.
  • Please request reimbursement in court from the other party if at all possible. Any payments you receive should be reimbursed to CLS to help us keep the litigation fund active.

Questions?  Please call your local CLS office (click here for office contact information).


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