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What fees and costs are covered?

Produced by Merrimack Valley North-Shore Legal Services, Inc.
Reviewed September 2013

If the clerk approves your Affidavit of Indigency, the state of Massachusetts can waive or pay for all the fees and costs related to your court case except your lawyer’s fees.

You can file an Affidavit of Indigency in any Massachusetts State court.

The court divides the fees and costs related to your case into 2 categories, normal fees and extra fees:

Normal fees and costs

Normal fees and costs are those that every one must pay in the kind of case you are involved in. They include:

  • court filing fees, appeal fees and surcharges.
  • fees like photocopies or issuing or certifying papers
  • fees to a constable or sheriff fees for serving,
  • fees for witness subpoenas, or other court papers, and
  • the cost of publishing notices relating to a court action.

Extra fees and costs

If you have costs and fees that are not considered normal costs and fees, they are “extra costs and fees.”

Examples of extra fees and costs are:

  • expert testing, examination or testimony,
  • cassette copies if you do not have a public defender, and
  • Appeal bonds.

If you ask for any extra fees and costs, the clerk may present your request to a judge. The clerk has five days to present your request to a judge. The judge might approve your request without a hearing.

If the judge needs to talk to you about your Affidavit of Indigency, there will be a hearing. If you have a hearing, explain to the judge why the extra services are needed for your case. The judge can only deny your Afffidavit of Indigency after a hearing.


Normal and extra fees and costs do not include lawyers' fees.

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