Getting help to pay a court fee in a civil or family case

You may be able to get help to pay a court fee or not have to pay it at all if you are on a low income or get certain welfare benefits. This know-how explains what help is available and how to apply.
Royal Courts of Justice

If you are going to court, you usually have to pay a fee when you start a court case. Sometimes you may have to pay a hearing fee as well if you aren’t able to reach an agreement about how to settle your case before it gets to a hearing.

Maybe the case you are involved in was started by someone else? If so there may be times when you want to make an application yourself, for example, to apply for a financial order in a divorce case or set aside a county court judgment. This will usually involve you having to pay a court fee.

For information about the different court fees and when and how to pay them, see court leaflet EX50: Civil and family court fees

How do I apply for help to pay my court fee?

You can apply for help with court fees online at Get help paying court and tribunal fees.

You can also ask for help paying court fees by completing form EX160. You can find this form and notes to help you complete the form correctly here: Apply for help with fees and a Welsh/English version of the same form and notes here: Form EX160 (Welsh/English version)

You have to complete a separate application for each court fee you want reduced or cancelled. This may mean you have to apply more than once during your case.

You can work out if you are likely to be eligible by using the online Fee Remissions Contribution Calculator (EX 160C). To find this calculator type ‘EX160C’ into the search box at: Search for court forms and leaflets

I can’t get legal aid, so what’s the point of applying for help to pay my court fee?

The two schemes aren’t linked. There may be no legal aid available in your kind of case or there is, but you’re not eligible for it. Or maybe your application was refused. Either way, that doesn’t stop you applying for help to pay your court fee.

I applied for help to pay my court fee but was refused. Is there any more I can do?

You can appeal. You appeal by writing to the court explaining why you are unhappy with their decision and including any evidence that will support your appeal.

Exceptional hardship

If you believe that you will face exceptional hardship if you pay the court fee, you can ask the court to consider reducing or waiving your fee. For more information about this see the section headed ‘If you are likely to experience exceptional hardship’ in court leaflet EX160A: How to apply for help with fees.

January 2017

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