Apply for help to pay the court fees for a civil or family case

You may not have to pay some of the court fees for your civil or family court case if you can’t afford them.

You will need to ask the court to waive (cancel) the fee. This means you won’t have to pay.

Reasons why the court might give you a waiver

The court may waive a fee for 2 reasons:

  • Financial hardship
    This applies if you’re getting legal aid or using the Family Legal Advice Service, or if you’re on a benefit or living off your superannuation, or if the court believes that paying the fee will cause you financial hardship.
  • Public interest
    Your case is in the public interest if the outcome would affect more people than just the people involved. Examples include a charity taking a case to court that is likely to benefit a group of people, or a case in a new area of law that is likely to clarify issues for the wider community.

Forms to get a waiver

Fill in 1 of these forms:

Apply for a waiver (or refund) of fees if you’re an individual [PDF, 660 KB]

Apply for a waiver (or refund) of fees if you’re an individual getting legal aid or a benefit or if you’ve already had a waiver for this case [PDF, 650 KB]

Apply for a waiver (or refund) of fees if you’re an organisation [PDF, 666 KB]

Apply for a waiver (or refund) of fees if you’re an organisation and you’ve already had a waiver for this case [PDF, 638 KB]

Apply for a review of the decision to not waiver the fee [PDF, 27 KB]

If you don’t want the case to be held up while you’re waiting for the court’s decision, fill in the part of the form called ‘Ask for processes to continue while this form is being processed’.

You can use the same form to apply for a refund. Do this if you have already paid the fee but now want to get a waiver and have the court pay back the money.

What happens after you file your application

A Registrar or Deputy Registrar will look at your application and we will let you know their decision.

It may take several weeks for your application to be processed.

Review of decision not to waive a fee

The first decision about a fee waiver will be made by a Registrar or Deputy Registrar at the court.

If you’re unhappy with their decision, you can ask to have it reviewed by a judge. You will need to fill in a separate form.

You need to do this within 20 working days after being told the first decision.