Fee waiver guide - High Court

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This factsheet explains when fees are not payable for High Court proceedings and the process for getting fees that are payable reduced or deferred.

Applicable fees

Applicable fees for the High Court are set out in the High Court of Australia (Fees) Regulations 2012 (Cth). They are:

  • Filing fees and hearing fees (Schedule 1, Part 1); and
  • Fees for obtaining a document or service (Schedule 1, Part 2).

Current fees are set out on the High Court's website.

Fee reduction or exemption

The circumstances in which a fee can be reduced or exempted are set out in the High Court of Australia (Fees) Regulations 2012 (Cth). The relevant provisions are set out in Part 2.

Fees not payable (r 10)

Fees are not payable in the following circumstances:

  • Where the fee has been paid by another person;
  • Where a Convention to which Australia is a party provides that no fee is to be payable;
  • In relation to the fees specified in items 108 to 110 of Schedule 1, where the hearing is of an interlocutory proceeding;
  • Where the sole purpose of the hearing is the delivery of a reserved judgment; or
  • Where the person is exempt from paying fees under r 11 or a reduced fee has been approved under r 12.

Exemption from fees (r 10)

Filing fees and subsequent hearing fees are not payable if either:

  • The person is granted legal aid for the proceeding for which the fee would otherwise be payable; OR
  • The person is:
  1. The holder of a concession card (a health care card, pensioner concession card, Commonwealth seniors health card or any other card issued by the department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs or the Department of Veterans' Affairs that certifies entitlement to Commonwealth health concessions);
  2. an inmate of a prison or is otherwise lawfully detained in a public institution; or
  3. a child under the age of 18 years; or
  4. in receipt of a youth allowance or an Austudy payment; or
  5. in receipt of ABSTUDY benefits.

Waiver of part of fee for financial hardship (r 12)

If the Registrar, having regard to the income, day to day living expenses, liabilities and assets of the person liable to pay a fee under Schedule 1, considers that payment of the full fee would cause financial hardship to the person, they may allow that person to pay a reduced fee (called "the financial hardship fee"). This is only possible if a financial hardship fee amount is listed in Schedule 1 along with the usual amount for that type of fee.

Written notice of the Registrar's reasons for a decision not to allow payment of the financial hardship fee must be given within 28 days of the decision (r 17).

An application to review the Registrar's decision may be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Fee deferral (r 13)

Payment of filing and hearing fees may be deferred if the Registrar is of the opinion that there is an urgent need to file the document or hear the proceeding that overrides the requirement to pay the fee at the normal time.

The fee must be paid within 28 days of deferral.


The forms to be used to apply for an exemption or reduction of fees can be found on the High Court's website.

The following forms are available:

  • Application for exemption from filing and hearing fees; and
  • Application to pay the financial hardship fee.

Proof of entitlement to an exemption must accompany the application. For example, if exemption is claimed due to the applicant having been granted legal aid, the letter of confirmation must be provided. The application forms clearly sets out what is required.


Harry Gibbs Commonwealth Law Courts Building
119 North Quay
Brisbane QLD 4000

(07) 3248 1100


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