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Missouri court imposes lawyers' fee to aid the poor

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court is imposing a new fee on attorneys to help provide legal aid to low-income residents in civil court cases.

The court said Friday that it had approved an additional $30 annual fee to be paid by lawyers starting in 2014. The fee is expected to generate at least $750,000.

Missouri's legal services fund helps pay for attorneys to aid people in civil cases such as child-custody disputes, protective orders, home foreclosures and bankruptcy cases.

The Supreme Court says the fee increase will help offset a recent cut in federal funding for low-income legal services.

Missouri's four regional legal aid programs also receive funding from a state fee charged on the filing of civil and criminal court cases.

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