With Pennsylvania courts looking to increase administrative costs, it may get more expensive to be involved in Marcellus Shale leasing activity. On July 30, 2011, the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts (AOPC) published an announcement that it intends to recommend that the state Supreme Court amend current financial regulations already providing for, inter alia, recorders of deeds to impose a fee of $23.50 on the recording of documents for purposes of funding the Judicial Computer System/Access to Justice/Criminal Justice Enhancement Account (JCS/ATJ/CJEA). The amendments will specify that the $23.50 JCS/ATS/CJEA fee should be imposed on each individual property interest conveyed in a filing, including all individual leases conveyed in a single blanket assignment.

The reasoning behind the proposed amendment is the inconsistent application of fees by recorders' offices, specifically with regard to the filing of oil and gas leases, assignments, and "bundled" memorandum filings (a/k/a blanket assignments). The AOPC has explained that under the proposed amendments, a "separate fee shall be imposed for each such referenced, incorporated or listed property transfer at the time of filing.''

The public may submit suggestions, comments, or objections concerning the proposal no later than August 30, 2011 by contacting: Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, ATTN: Financial Regulations Comments, 1515 Market Street, Suite 1414, Philadelphia, PA 19102, financialregscomments@pacourts.us.