Help with Court Fees

Overview

If you are on a low income, it is possible to get help with court fees. There are rules for making an application for help with the cost of your fee, in the County Court and the High Court. You can apply for help online or with an application form.

When would I use the Courts?

One example of needing to use the County Court is where a creditor obtains a county court judgment (CCJ) against you. In this scenario you might need to request the following of the court:

  • Allow you to pay by instalments, or reduce the instalments you have already been asked to pay

  • Stop any enforcement action

  • Set aside a judgment that you believe should not have been made

If you are in breach of a suspended possession order due to a change of circumstances, you can apply to court to vary the repayment terms. You must offer the contractual rent plus a more affordable rent arrears repayment, if acceptable, this would prevent a warrant of possession.

Help with the fees

To be eligible for help with fees you will usually have less than £3,000 in savings and investments and be receiving certain benefits or be on a low income (including receiving other benefits).

You may also be eligible for help if you or your partner:

  • are over 61, or are paying a fee of more than £1,000, and you have more than £3,000 in savings and investments

  • support children financially and earn more than £1,085 a month (before tax and National Insurance is taken off)

You can read more detailed guidance on the HM Courts & Tribunals Service Guide.


Apply online

You can make an online application.

The Help with Fees service will contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to receive confirmation you are getting a suitable qualifying benefit. You will then be provided with a reference number, which you may need to add to your court forms whilst you are waiting for a decision. This is usually instant unless further checks are required.

You might still have to supply paperwork; for example, bank statements or payslips, so make sure you keep this information safe.

The Help with Fees service will let you know if your application has been accepted.

If you do not want to apply online you can take or send your help with fee application together with your court application to court.

Appeals

If your help with fees application is refused by the court, you can appeal the decision. Put your appeal in writing within the time limit, which is usually fourteen days from when you receive the letter refusing your application. However the court will tell you the appeal cut off date in the letter.