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Supreme Court agrees to hear paralegal fees case

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday granted certiorari in Richlin Security Service v. Chertoff (06-1717) [docket; cert. petition, PDF], a case where the Court will consider whether paralegal services can be recovered at the market rate when determining the payment of attorneys' fees. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that the Equal Access to Justice Act [text] permits only the reimbursement of paralegal services as the cost of the expense to the attorneys rather than as fees at the market rate. A decision in this case would resolve a split among the circuit courts of appeal. SCOTUSblog has more.

Among the cases denied certiorari by the Supreme Court on Tuesday is Belbacha v. Bush (07-173) [docket], in which the petitioner, an Algerian citizen and Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainee, requested emergency relief to block his transfer by the US government to Algeria. Ahmed Belbacha [BBC profile] fears torture by Algerian officials and retribution by terrorists if he is returned to his home country. The Court, however, refused to hear his appeal, which would have come directly from the US District Court for the District of Columbia. In August, the Supreme Court also denied [JURIST report] Belbacha's emergency application for a stay [PDF text; SCOTUSblog report] after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit lifted its stay [order, PDF] on Belbacha's transfer. Belbacha's request for an original writ of habeas corpus has also been rejected by the Supreme Court. AP has more.

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