Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 7. Fees and Costs.


§ 15–701. Compensation taxed as costs; attorneys’ compensation from clients.

(a) Except as otherwise provided by law, only the compensation specified in this chapter may be taxed and allowed to attorneys, proctors, United States attorney, marshal, witnesses, and jurors.

(b) This chapter does not prohibit attorneys and proctors from charging or receiving from their clients other than the government such reasonable compensation for their services, in addition to the taxable costs, as may be in accordance with general usage or may be agreed upon.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 531, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 633, Pub. L. 99-336, § 4(b)(1).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-701.

1973 Ed., § 15-701.

Cross References

Notaries public, fees, see §§ 1-1213 and 1-1214.


§ 15–702. Attorney fees taxed as costs.

An attorney for the District of Columbia may not retain attorney fees taxed as costs in litigation in which the District of Columbia is a party.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 531, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 633, Pub. L. 99-336, § 4(b)(2).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-702.

1973 Ed., § 15-702.


§ 15–703. Security for costs by nonresidents.

(a) The defendant in a suit instituted by a nonresident of the District of Columbia, or by one who becomes a nonresident after the suit is commenced, upon notice served on the plaintiff or his attorney after service of process on the defendant, may require the plaintiff to give security for costs and charges that may be adjudged against him on the final disposition of the cause. This right of the defendant does not entitle him to delay in pleading, and his pleading before the giving of the security is not a waiver of his right to require security for costs. In case of noncompliance with these requirements, within a time fixed by the court, judgment of nonsuit or dismissal shall be entered. The security required may be by an undertaking, with security, to be approved by the court, or by a deposit of money in an amount fixed by the court.

(b) A nonresident, at the commencement of his suit, may deposit with the clerk such sum as the court deems sufficient as security for all costs that may accrue in the cause, which deposit may afterwards be increased on application, in the discretion of the court.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 531, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 633, Pub. L. 99-336, § 4(b)(3).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-703.

1973 Ed., § 15-703.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 15-711.

Cross References

Fees and costs in Small Claims and Conciliation Branch of Superior Court, see §§ 16-3903 and 16-3909.

Fees and costs in Superior Court, see § 15-709.


§ 15–704. Advance payment of costs and fees.

Costs and fees for services rendered by the Register of Wills and chargeable to others than the United States or the District of Columbia are payable in advance and shall be collected pursuant to such rules and regulations, not incompatible with law, as are prescribed by the court.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 532, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 633, Pub. L. 99-336, § 4(b)(4).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-704.

1973 Ed., § 15-704.

Cross References

Costs in suits against Board of Education, see §§ 1-204.95, 38-101.


§ 15–705. Exemption of District of Columbia and United States from fees, costs, and bonds.

(a) The District of Columbia or any officer thereof acting therefor may not be required to pay court costs or fees in any court in and for the District of Columbia.

(b) The District of Columbia may not be required to pay fees to the clerk of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, or to the marshal of the District, and is entitled to the services of the marshal in the service of all civil process.

(c) The United States and the District of Columbia may not be required to pay fees and costs for services rendered by the clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the Register of Wills.

(d) Neither the United States nor the District of Columbia, nor any officer of either acting in his official capacity, may be required to give bond or enter into undertaking to perfect an appeal or to obtain an injunction or other writ, process, or order in or of any court in the District of Columbia for which a bond or undertaking is required by law or rule of court.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 532, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-705.

1973 Ed., § 15-705.


§ 15–706. Clerk’s fees in United States District Court for the District of Columbia. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 633, Pub. L. 99-336, § 4(b)(5).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-706.


§ 15–707. Probate fees.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b), the Register of Wills may demand and receive in advance for services performed by him such fees as shall be set by the court having jurisdiction over probate matters in the District of Columbia.

(b) Where the estate does not exceed $500 in value the Register of Wills shall receive no fees, and where the estate does not exceed $2,500 in value the fees may not exceed $15.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 534, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 553, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(10)(A); Aug. 11, 1971, 85 Stat. 313, Pub. L. 92-88, § 3.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-707.

1973 Ed., § 15-707.


§ 15–708. Deposit for probate fees.

For proceedings in probate deposits and fees shall be paid to the Register of Wills.

Upon the presentation for filing of a petition or a caveat to a will, he may require a deposit for his fees to be charged for the proceedings under the petition or caveat. Upon the deposit becoming exhausted in the liquidation of his fees so charged, he may require a further deposit from the original petitioner or caveator. The deposits may not be required in excess of fifteen dollars at any one time.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 535, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(11)(A).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-708.

1973 Ed., § 15-708.


§ 15–709. Fees and costs in Superior Court.

(a) The Superior Court of the District of Columbia may prescribe fees and costs, including the fee to be paid for a jury trial.

(b) Fees for services by the United States marshals for processes issued by the Superior Court shall be prescribed by rules of that court.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 535, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(12)(A); June 19, 1986, 100 Stat. 633, Pub. L. 99-336, § 4(b)(6).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-709.

1973 Ed., § 15-709.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 15-713 and § 16-703.


§ 15–710. Fees and costs in Domestic Relations Branch of Court of General Sessions. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(13).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-710.


§ 15–711. Deposit or security for costs in Superior Court.

Nonresidents of the District of Columbia may commence suits in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia without first giving security for costs, but upon motion may be required to give security pursuant to section 15-703 .


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 535, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(14).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-711.

1973 Ed., § 15-711.


§ 15–712. Proceedings in forma pauperis.

(a) Any District of Columbia court may authorize the commencement, prosecution or defense of any noncriminal suit, action or proceeding, or appeal therein, without prepayment of fees and costs or security therefor, including the fees for transcripts on appeal, by a person who is unable to pay such costs or give security therefor without substantial hardship to himself or herself or his or her family, as established by affidavit or other proof satisfactory to the court.

(b) Any person who makes an affidavit as provided in subsection (a) of this section and states therein that he or she receives public assistance under the District of Columbia Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Program on Work, Employment, and Responsibility or General Assistance for Children programs, or receives assistance under title XVI of the Social Security Act (Supplemental Security Income) (76 Stat. 197) shall be presumed eligible to proceed without prepayment of fees and costs or security therefor.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 536, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(14); Apr. 7, 1977, D.C. Law 1-107, title II, § 202, 23 DCR 8737; Mar. 20, 1998, D.C. Law 12-60, § 703, 44 DCR 7378; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-241, § 8, 46 DCR 905; Apr. 20, 1999, D.C. Law 12-264, § 24, 46 DCR 2118.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-712.

1973 Ed., § 15-712.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4 of the General Public Assistance Program Termination Emergency Amendment Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-72, May 12, 1997, 44 DCR 2989).

Section 7 of D.C. Act 12-72 provided for the application of the act.

For temporary amendment of section, see § 703 of the Fiscal Year 1998 Revised Budget Support Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-152, October 17, 1997, 44 DCR 6196); and § 703 of the Fiscal Year 1998 Revised Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1997 (D.C. Act 12-239, January 13, 1998, 45 DCR 508).

Section 2002 of D.C. Act 12-152 provided for the application of the act.

For temporary amendment of section, see § 8 of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-372, June 9, 1998, 45 DCR 4270), § 8 of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-425, July 31, 1998, 45 DCR 5682), § 8 of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1998 (D.C. Act 12-552, December 24, 1998, 46 DCR 521), and § 8 of the Self-Sufficiency Promotion Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1999 (D.C. Act 13-19, February 17, 1999, 46 DCR 2492).

Section 17 of D.C. Act 12-552 provided for the retroactive application of the act.

Section 18 of D.C. Act 13-19 provided for the retroactive application of the act.

Temporary Legislation

Section 4 of D.C. Law 12-21 substituted “General Assistance for Children Programs” for “General Public Assistance Programs” in (b).

Section 8(b) of D.C. Law 12-21 provided that the act shall expire on the 225th day of its having taken effect.

D.C. Law 12-59, in (b), substituted “General Assistance for Children” for “General Public Assistance.”

Section 2001(b) of D.C. Law 12-59 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Section 2002 of D.C. Law 12-59 provided that the act shall apply as of October 1, 1997.

Section 8 of D.C. Law 12-230 substituted “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Program on Work, Employment, and Responsibility” for “Aid to Families with Dependent Children” in (b).

Section 18(b) of D.C. Law 12-230 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

References in Text

Title XVI of the Social Security Act, referred to in subsection (b) of this section, is title XVI of the Act of August 14, 1935, ch. 531, as added by the Act of October 30, 1972, 86 Stat. 1465, Pub. L. 92-603, § 301, which is classified to 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq.

Editor's Notes

Section 2002 of D.C. Law 12-60 provided that the Act shall apply as of October 1, 1997.


§ 15–713. Deposits for jury trials in Superior Court.

Deposits made on demands for jury trials in accordance with rules prescribed by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia under authority granted in section 15-709 shall be earned unless, prior to three days before the time set for trial, including Sundays and legal holidays, a new date for trial is set by the court, cases are discontinued or settled, or demands for jury trials are waived.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 536, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(14).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-713.

1973 Ed., § 15-713.


§ 15–714. Witness fees for attendance in Superior Court.

(a) The fees and travel allowances to be paid any witness attending in a criminal case in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall be the same as those paid to witnesses who attend before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(b) The fees and travel allowances to be paid any witness compelled by subpoena to attend any branch of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia other than the criminal division shall be the same amount as paid a witness compelled to attend before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

(c) No travel allowance shall be paid to any witness residing within the District of Columbia.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 536, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; Dec. 27, 1967, 81 Stat. 742, Pub. L. 90-226, title VIII, § 803(a); July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(15)(A).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-714.

1973 Ed., § 15-714.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 11-1527.

Cross References

Fees of jurors serving in Superior Court, see § 11-1906.


§ 15–715. Witness fees in prosecutions for cruelty to children or animals.

An officer or member of the Humane Society is not entitled to any fee as a witness in the prosecution of a case of cruelty to children or animals.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 536, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-715.

1973 Ed., § 15-715.


§ 15–716. Advances to Court of General Sessions Clerk for witness fees. [Repealed]

Repealed.


(July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(16).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-716.


§ 15–717. Marriage license and related fees.

For each marriage license, the fee shall be $2; for each certified copy of a marriage license return, the fee shall be $1; for each certified copy of application for marriage license the fee shall be $1; and for registering authorizations to perform marriages and issuing certificate, the fee shall be $1.

The Superior Court of the District of Columbia may, by rule of court, increase or decrease fees provided by this section.


(July 5, 1966, 80 Stat. 265, Pub. L. 89-493, § 13(d)(2); July 29, 1970, 84 Stat. 554, Pub. L. 91-358, title I, § 144(17).)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-717.

1973 Ed., § 15-717.


§ 15–718. Juror fees.

(a) A juror serving in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia shall be paid an attendance fee of $30 for each day of actual attendance at the place of trial or hearing, except that jurors employed by a federal, state, or local government or by a private employer who pays regular compensation during the period of jury service shall not be paid an attendance fee. A person summoned for petit jury service in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia who does not serve on the petit jury shall not be paid an attendance fee.

(b) A travel allowance not to exceed $2 per day shall be paid to all jurors serving in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(c) For jury service of 5 days or less, petit or grand jurors employed full-time in the District of Columbia shall be entitled to their usual compensation less the fee received for jury service. A person shall not be considered a full-time employed juror on any day of jury service in which that person:

(1) Would not have accrued regular wages to be paid by the employer if the employee were not serving as a juror on that day; or

(2) Would not have worked more than 1/2 of a shift that extends into another day if the employee were not serving as a juror on that day. Employers with 10 or less employees shall not be required to pay a juror-employee his or her usual compensation.

(d) If an employer fails to pay an employee in violation of subsection (c) of this section, the employee may bring a civil action for recovery of wages or salary lost as a result of the violation. If an employee prevails in an action under this subsection, that employee shall be entitled to reasonable attorney fees fixed by the court.

(e) The Board of Judges of the Superior Court may increase the attendance fee and travel allowance provided by this section and, in such event, shall publish the new fee or allowance.


(Mar. 9, 1988, D.C. Law 7-81, § 2(c), 34 DCR 8115; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-19, title I, § 104, 38 DCR 4066; Aug. 17, 1991, D.C. Law 9-43, § 2, 38 DCR 4985; Aug. 25, 1994, D.C. Law 10-156, § 2, 41 DCR 4876; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-272, § 2(a), 54 DCR 856.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 15-718.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-272 added subsec. (e).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90-day) addition of § 15-719 1981 Ed., see § 2 of the Foster Children’s Guardianship Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-433, August 14, 2000, 47 DCR 7467).


§ 15–719. Adoption court costs and fees.

Any person who files a petition pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 16 to adopt a child who is a respondent in a neglect proceeding or who has been adjudicated to be neglected as defined in Chapter 23 of Title 16 shall not be required to pay court costs or fees in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.


(Apr. 4, 2001, D.C. Law 13-273, § 2(c), 48 DCR 1637.)

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) addition of this section, see § 2(b) of the Foster Children’s Guardianship Legislative Review Emergency Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-490, November 29, 2000, 48 DCR 63).

For temporary (90 day) addition of § 15-719, see § 2(b) of the Foster Children’s Guardianship Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2000 (D.C. Act 13-490, December 18, 2000, 48 DCR 45).

For temporary (90 day) addition of section, see § 2(c) of Foster Children’s Guardianship Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-4, February 13, 2001, 48 DCR 2254).

Temporary Legislation

Section 2(b) of D.C. Law 13-208 added this section.

Section 5(b) of D.C. Law 13-208 provided that the act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.