Is An Ordinance Imposing a Law Library Fee at the Time of Filing a Lawsuit Valid ?
In Ampersand, Inc. v. Finley, 61 Ill. 2d 537, 542, 338 N.E.2d 15 (1975), a Cook County ordinance directed the circuit court to collect a county law library fee of $ 2, payable at the time of the first filing or appearance by each party to a civil lawsuit. Ampersand, 61 Ill. 2d at 538.
A similar state statute that imposed a $ 1 filing fee on parties to civil suits for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of county law libraries was found constitutional by our supreme court. Ampersand, 61 Ill. 2d at 538; see Ali v. Danaher, 47 Ill. 2d 231, 265 N.E.2d 103 (1970), Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 81, par. 81.
The Cook County ordinance purported to supercede state statute. Ampersand, 61 Ill. 2d at 538.
Our supreme court found that the state's constitution contemplates one unified, statewide court system. Ampersand, 61 Ill. 2d at 542; Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI. As such:
"The administration of justice under our constitution is a matter of statewide concern and does not pertain to local government or affairs.
Since, as explained by the local government committee, the powers of a home rule unit relate only to its own affairs and not to those of the State, the Court concluded that the ordinance imposing the filing fee is invalid." Ampersand, 61 Ill. 2d at 542-43.