Court fees can pose a problem to anyone struggling financially who needs to pay for court action. Unfortunately, this can create something of a ‘catch 22’ situation as often the work of the court is needed precisely because of individual’s money problems. For instance, you have to be able to pay a court fee to be declared bankrupt – hardly a time when you’d be well placed to meet such an expense..

Luckily, partial and full remissions are available in a number of scenarios.

In Receipt of Benefits

If you are in receipt of the following benefits you can get a full remission;

  • Income related Job Seeker’s Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Working Tax Credit (as long as you aren’t also receiving Child Tax Credit)
  • Pension Credit
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

To prove that you are in receipt of these benefits you need to include an official letter from the organisation responsible for your payments in the documentation you provide as part of your application. So, depending on the benefit in question this might be the Job Centre, The Department for Work and Pensions or the HMRC.

This letter will need to show your title, full name, address and postcode and confirm that you are currently receiving that benefit. It will also have to be less than a month old at the time you make your application (except for Working Tax Credit or Pension Credit, which will be valid as long as they refer to the current financial year.)

Low Income

If you have a low level of income you can also get a full remission. What’s classed as a low income will depend on whether you are single or part of a couple and whether you have any children, as shown in the table below. Note that even if the court fees are being charged as part of the cost of getting divorced, as you’re still legally married you count as a couple for remission purposes.

If you have more than 4 children the threshold goes up by £2,930.

Annual Income (Gross) Single Couple
No Children £13,000 £18,000
1 Child £15,930 £20,930
2 Children £18,860 £23,860
3 Children £21,790 £26,790
4 Children £24,720 £29,720

You will need to be able to prove your income. If you are employed, you can do this by providing your last three month’s payslips (or last four weeks’ slips if you’re paid weekly). If you’re self employed you can prove your income with a tax return, HMRC self assessment or other documentation.

You also have to declare any other income you may have of any kind. Be it income from stocks and shares, rent from a lodger, a pension or child benefit.

Low Disposable Income

You can also get either a full or partial remission based on the level of your disposable income (the amount you have left over once essential expenses have been paid for).

To apply for this form of remission you will need to show your income as described above, but you will also need your monthly expenses. These consist of;

  • Housing Costs:You can show these with a bank statement, tenancy agreement, mortgage statement or other form of documentation.
  • Child Maintenance: If applicable you can demonstrate your costs by producing a court order, child support agency assessment, signed voluntary agreement.
  • Child Care Expenses: If you have to pay for childcare, be it in the form of a nursery.
  • Court Order: If you have a court order to pay an individual or organisation monthly instalments you can list this as an expense.

As well listing however much you are spending on the above you can also add fixed amount for the following;

  • General Living Expenses: £315 a month.
  • Dependant Children: £244 a month per child.
  • Partner: £159 a month.

When you’ve submitted you evidence the court will work out your disposable income and if it’s less than £50 a month you will get a full remission. If it is more you will get a partial remission based on how much you can afford.


To apply you need to fill in a EX 160 form (which you can download by following that link) and collect the evidence you need to support your application as detailed above. You can either post this to the court you are dealing with or take it their in person.


If you paid a court fee and think you would’ve been eligible for a remission you can apply retrospectively for up to 6 months from making payment. As well as evidence to show your eligibility for a remission, you need to provide evidence of having paid the fee.