Filing fee exemptions – Federal Court & Federal Circuit Court


A person in detention is exempt from paying filing fees and other court fees in the Federal Court & Federal Circuit Court.

This is the effect of reg 2.05 of the Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court Regulation 2012

2.05  Persons exempt from paying fee—general

(1)  A person is exempt from paying a fee mentioned in Schedule 1…if, at the time the fee is payable, one or more of the following apply:


(c)  the person is serving a sentence of imprisonment or is otherwise detained in a public institution;


However it can all be a little tricky to organise given that the applicant is often in a far away detention centre. Two documents are required. One of them is the form on the court’s website called ‘Application for Exemption From Paying court Fees – General’. This form can be signed by a lawyer on behalf of the applicant and hence does not need to be signed by the applicant personally. The other is a letter from Immigration confirming that the applicant is in detention. The two documents are then merged into one PDF document and at the point of lodging electronically the one PDF document is uploaded and that will form the basis of the fee exemption.

Sometimes close to deadline, it may be difficult to get the Immigration letter conforming the applicant is in detention. In such a case the exemption form is still lodged accompanied by a letter form the applicant’s lawyer stating the that client is in detention and that it  is expected a latter will be supplied from Immigration confirming the detention.

When that letter arrived, the ‘Application for Exemption From Paying court Fees – General’ should be filed again with the accompanying Immigration letter as a composite PDF document.

Barbara Davidson