The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
That our legal system cannot provide “equal justice under law” unless all persons have access to the courts without regard to their economic means. California law and court procedures should ensure that court fees are not a barrier to court access for those with insufficient economic means to pay those fees.
That fiscal responsibility should be tempered with concern for litigants’ rights to access the justice system. The procedure for allowing the poor to use court services without paying ordinary fees must be one that applies rules fairly to similarly situated persons, is accessible to those with limited knowledge of court processes, and does not delay access to court services. The procedure for determining if a litigant may file a lawsuit without paying a fee must not interfere with court access for those without the financial means to do so.
That those who are able to pay court fees should do so, and that courts should be allowed to recover previously waived fees if a litigant has obtained a judgment or substantial settlement.