Reduction of civil court fees

You may apply to request that the registrar reduce the following civil fees if you’re experiencing financial hardship or believe paying the fee will cause financial hardship:

  • filing fee for an originating document: claim, counterclaim, originating application, appeal or cross appeal
  • setting down and daily hearing fees.

The application is usually determined quickly and without extensive investigation, and is usually decided by the registrar on the same day you file it.

How to apply

If you’re a corporation or a trustee, file Form 132 - Application for fee reduction by a corporation (DOC, 71KB). Attach documentation regarding your current bank account statements, assets, liabilities and profit and loss.

If you’re not a corporation or trustee, file Form 131 - Application for fee reduction by an individual (DOC, 87KB). If you’re applying under:

  • s. 10 of Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulations 2009, complete Parts A and C of Form 131 and provide proof of your eligibility (see below)
  • s. 10B – Hardship of Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulations 2009, complete Part B and C of Form 131 and provide any additional information to show financial hardship on a separate statement attached to the application.

Make your application either:

  • when you lodge any documents required under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 or a practice direction on which a relevant fee is payable
  • within any time required to pay the fee (in the case of a setting down and hearing fee payable after a matter has been set down for trial/hearing by a judge or registrar).

Your application may not be successful if you don’t have all the required documents or you can’t demonstrate financial hardship.

Proof of eligibility

To prove you are entitled to a reduction, you must provide one of the following:

  • one of the following cards under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cwlth):
    • current health care card
    • current pensioner concession card
    • current Commonwealth senior’s health card
  • current repatriation health card or repatriation pharmaceutical benefits card issued by the department administering the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Cwlth) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (Cwth)
  • proof that you’re receiving youth allowance, Austudy payments or a benefit under the ABSTUDY scheme under the Social Security Act 1991 (Cwth)
  • proof that you’re granted legal aid in respect of the proceeding.

What the registrar considers

The registrar considers only the information provided with the application.

An individual

The registrar will grant the application if the:

  • applicant has nominated the fee to be reduced
  • applicant has either:
    • nominated (and provided proof of) why they’re entitled to a reduction under Part A of the application
    • has provided enough details of their financial circumstances under Part B of the application to prove they’re entitled to a reduction due to financial hardship
  • application has been duly signed and sworn/affirmed.

A corporation or trustee

The registrar will grant the application if the:

  • applicant has specified whether they’ve applied under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth) or Admiralty Act 1988 (Cwlth)
  • applicant has nominated the fee to be reduced
  • applicant knows the financial circumstances of the corporation or trust
  • applicant has provided enough information about its financial circumstances to show they don’t have—and can’t reasonably obtain—funds to pay the fee
  • application has been duly signed and sworn/affirmed.

If the application is granted

If the registrar grants your application, you still have to pay the reduced fee.

The amount of the reduced fee depends whether:

  • you’re applying as an individual or corporation
  • your originating application was made under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cwlth) or Admiralty Act 1988 (Cwlth) (see Item 7 of Schedule 1, Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulations 2009).

If your matter is set down for hearing at a later stage, you don’t have to re-apply to have the setting down and hearing fee reduced.

If the application is refused

If the registrar refuses your application, you can apply to have a judge review their decision.

Complete and file a Form 9 - Application (UCPR) (DOC, 48KB) as soon as possible after the registrar’s decision. There is no filing fee for this application.

The judge may review the registrar’s decision with or without a formal hearing and consider anything the registrar considered in making the decision.

If the judge doesn’t overturn the registrar’s decision, and you wish to continue your proceeding, you’ll have to pay the full fee.

Read more detail about what the registrar considers in determining an application for a fee reduction (PDF, 54KB).