Reduction of civil court fees – Civil
Which fees can you apply to have reduced?
Section 9 of the Uniform Civil Procedure (Fees) Regulations 2009 allows a party to apply to the registrar of the Supreme or District Court to have the following fees reduced:
- The filing fee for an originating document; or
- The setting down and hearing fees.
An originating document includes a claim, counterclaim, originating application, appeal or cross appeal.
In what instances can I apply to have a fee reduced?
You can apply to the registrar to have the fees outlined above reduced if you are experiencing financial hardship or believe that paying the fee will cause you financial hardship. It will be accepted that you meet these criteria if you are able to produce:
- One of the following cards under the Social Security Act 1991 (Commonwealth):
- A current health care card
- A current pensioner concession card
- A current Commonwealth senior’s health card
- A current repatriation health card or repatriation pharmaceutical benefits card issued by the department administering the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (Commonwealth) or the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (Commonwealth)
- Proof that you are receiving youth allowance, Austudy payments or a benefit under the ABSTUDY scheme under the Social Security Act 1991 (Commonwealth)
- Proof that you are a person granted legal aid in respect of the proceeding
If I am successful in having the fee reduced how much do I have to pay?
You will have to pay the reduced fee. The amount of this reduced fee depends on whether you are an individual or a corporation, and whether your originating application is one made under the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth) or Admiralty Act 1988 (Commonwealth), or not. You will not have to pay any appeal cost fund fee that may also be payable on an originating document.
Your originating process will not be filed until the appropriate reduced fee is paid.
How do I apply for a reduction of court fees?
If you are making the application as a representative of a corporation, or as a trustee, you will need to complete and file a Form 132 - Application for a fee reduction by a corporation. Documentation relating to your current bank account statements, assets, liabilities and profit and loss must be attached to the form.
If you are not a corporation or a trustee you will need to complete and file a Form 131- Application for a fee reduction by an individual.
If you are an individual applying for a reduction under s.10 Uniform Civil Procedures (Fee) Regulation 2009 you will need to complete Parts A and C of Form 131 and provide proof of your eligibility in the form of a certified copy of a relevant card, statement, or confirmation letter.
If you are an individual applying for a reduction under s 10B - Hardship Uniform Civil Procedures (Fee) Regulation 2009 you will need to complete Part B and C of Form 131. If you wish to provide additional information to show financial hardship you should do so on a separate statement and attach it to your application.
Your application should be made:
- at the same time as you lodge any document required to be filed under the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 or a Practice Direction upon which a relevant fee is payable; or
- 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 - within any time required to pay the fee.
Your application may not be successful if you do not have all the required documents or you do not demonstrate financial hardship.
Will my application for a reduction of fees be determined on the day?
Yes. Your application will usually be determined by the registrar on the same day it is filed.
What will be considered by the registrar?
A Corporation or Trustee
The registrar will only consider the information provided in and attached to the application and grant the application once he/she is satisfied that:
- the applicant has specified whether their application is one made under the Corporations Act 2001 (Commonwealth) or Admiralty Act 1988 (Commonwealth), or not
- the applicant has nominated the fee it is applying to have reduced;
- that the person making the application has actual knowledge of the financial circumstances of the corporation or trust;
- the applicant has provided sufficient information about its’ financial circumstances to show it does not have, and cannot reasonably obtain, sufficient funds to pay the relevant fee; and
- the application has been duly signed and sworn/affirmed.
The registrar will only consider the information provided in the application and grant the application once he/she is satisfied that:
- the applicant has nominated the fee they are applying to have reduced; and
- the applicant has nominated (and provided proof of) the qualification on which they are entitled to a reduction under Part A of the application; or
- the applicant has provided sufficient details of their financial circumstances under Part B of the application to prove they are entitled to a reduction due to financial hardship; and
- the application has been duly signed and sworn/affirmed.
If I am successful in having the originating document fee reduced and my matter is set down for hearing at a later stage do I have to re-apply to have the setting down and hearing fee reduced?
No. If you were successful in having the originating document fee reduced you will not have to pay the setting down and hearing fee.
Can I seek a review of the registrar’s decision?
Yes. If your application is refused and you are not happy with the registrar’s decision you can apply to a judge to have the decision reviewed. You should complete and file a Form 9 – Application (Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999) as soon as possible after the registrar’s decision. This application does not attract a filing fee.
The judge may review the registrar’s decision with or without a formal hearing and consider anything the registrar considered in making the decision.
What happens if I am not successful in having the fee reduced?
If you are not successful in having the fee reduced by the registrar or judge you have the option of either not continuing with your proceeding or paying the full fee. Your originating process will not be filed until the appropriate reduced fee is paid.