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. Here, we explain what help is available and how to apply.
Royal Courts of Justice
Getting help to pay a court fee in a civil or family case

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. 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.

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

How to apply for help with court fees

You can apply for help with court fees by using the form EX160. You can get a paper form or do it online by going to GOV.UK.

If you are making a small claim for money online you must use the online system for applying for help with fees. You can work out if you are likely to be eligible by using the online Fee Remissions Contribution Calculator (EX 160C). You can find this at the bottom of the Help with court fees page on GOV.UK

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

December 2021
About this guide

This short guide was written and produced by Advicenow, thanks to funding from the Litigant in Person Support Strategy. 

December 2021 
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