Knox County Tennessee

“Filing Fees” vs. “Court Costs”—What’s the Difference?

Filing Fees

A “filing fee” is the amount a party must pay to the Clerk and Master upon filing a lawsuit.  The filing fee is required when a party files a new lawsuit, or re-opens a lawsuit that has previously been closed.  Filing fees are established and required by Tennessee law. Please be aware that the filing fee is only the initial payment that must be made at the time a lawsuit is filed.

If you are an indigent party, you may be eligible, upon proper application with the Court, to defer the payment of the initial filing fee by submitting a “Request to Postpone Payment of Filing Fees” (Pauper’s Oath).  This document is available upon request at the front counter of the Clerk and Master’s office.

Please Note:  Knox County Chancery Court also requires a Cost Bond of the Complainant/Petitioner at the time the lawsuit is filed.

Court Costs

“Court costs” are amounts related to the expenses incident to a lawsuit.  Court costs are connected to various specified acts and services performed by the Clerk and Master’s office and the Court in connection with judicial procedures.  The total amount of court costs in a given case often depends upon the complexity of the litigation.

Tennessee law requires the Clerk and Master to monitor, record and collect court costs after they have been taxed by the Court.  Court costs are taxed against the party or parties as the Chancellor, taking into consideration all of the circumstances of the particular case, deems equitable or required by law.

After the court costs in a case are taxed against a party or parties, the Clerk and Master is responsible for collecting such costs.  The Clerk and Master’s office prepares a Statement of Cost and sends it to the party or parties for prompt payment of all costs into Court.  Tennessee statutes authorize the Clerk and Master to utilize various collection procedures when Statements of Cost become overdue.

For questions regarding court costs, please call (865) 215-2654.