The Uniform Civil Fees and Standard Fee Schedule Act of 2005 (UCF), approved as part of the 2005–2006 Budget Act, took effect January 1, 2006. It streamlined and simplified the civil fee structure so that for most fees, the same amounts are charged for the same services across all 58 counties.
Chief Justice Ronald M. George appointed the Court Fees Working Group (CFWG) in December 2003 to undertake a comprehensive review of civil fees and to make policy recommendations in order to achieve several goals. The CFWG recommended the creation of a uniform civil fee structure to consolidate surcharges and add-on fees and provide for uniformity of fees across the state; address the funding shortfall occurring under the fee structure at the time; and improve financial stability, accountability, and predictability in the courts. In December 2004, the Judicial Council approved sponsorship of legislation to establish the uniform civil fee structure.
Assembly Bill 1248 (Stats. 2007, ch. 738) made technical and clarifying changes to the UCF, including clarifying when fees apply or do not apply (particularly in probate proceedings), removing the need to provide an estimate of the value of an estate in probate filings, and establishing a number of new fees.