If you are bringing or defending a claim before the courts you will need to pay a court fee.
The amount will depend on the type of claim you are dealing with and at what stage of the proceedings you are at.
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The Court has a system made from three concessions. Concessions 1 and 2 allow a full remission of Court fees if the individual receives a means-tested benefit or their gross annual income is below a certain threshold.
Concession 3 provides part remission or contribution towards fees if the individual would suffer financial hardship after paying the Court fees.
To apply for remission of Court fees, the Court Form EX160 should be completed. It is recommended that the reduction is applied when the claim commences but a reduction in Court fees can be applied for at any stage during the litigation.
An individual will be exempt from paying fees if;
1. The individual or their partner receives Pension Credit guarantee credit
2. The individual receives Income-Based Job Seeker’s Allowance
3. The individual’s gross annual income is below the current threshold and either;
– The individual receives Working Tax Credit with a disability element or severe disability element or
– The individual and their partner receive Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit between them.
Gross annual income is calculated before income tax and other deductions are made. The Inland Revenue will send an award notice stating the gross annual income. If you receive Working Tax Credit, the award notice will state whether you receive a disability element or severe disability element.
The Court may conclude that the individual does not have to pay Court fees, or a reduction in Court fees because they would suffer financial hardship. Therefore even if the individual does not fulfil the criteria above they can still apply for remission of Court fees if they believe that they would suffer financial hardship.
When making the application, the Court requires supporting evidence of the individual’s income in order to assess the application. The evidence required depends on the basis of the application.
Applying To The Court
The form EX160 must be completed alongside the supporting documentation. It must be taken or posted to the County Court that is dealing with the claim.
What Happens Next?
The Court will usually deal with the application within 5 working days. The Court can deal with the application urgently but only in exceptional circumstances and the deadline explained.
The Court will then come to one of two conclusions;
1. If the Court admits the application and Court fees are not payable, the Court documents will be processed.
2. If the Court does not allow the application or allows a reduction in Court fees, a letter will be sent declaring the amount of Court fees payable and the reason for the decision. The decision can be appealed by sending a letter to the Court Manager.
Refunds Of Court Fees
If an individual has paid Court fees without applying for an exemption or remission, the fees can be refunded. This is completed on a form EX160 application but it must be within 6 months from the date the Court fees were paid. Furthermore, the evidence provided for a refund must contain the details that would have allowed for exemption or remission on the date the Court fees were paid.