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What are legal fees

Legal fees refer to any payment that may be made for legal matters. Legal fees include:

Court fees

Court fees refer to payments made to the court at various stages of the proceedings. These fees are usually paid when documents are filed.

You will need to pay fees for filing:

  • An application to the court.
  • Any documents related to court proceedings.

Most of these fees are prescribed by law and can be found in legislation such as:

Certain types of proceedings may also have specific fees defined in other legislation. Refer to the respective self-help guides for more information.

Note: For eLitigation applications, there are also transmission and processing fees in addition to the document filing fees. For applications filed through the LawNet & CrimsonLogic Service Bureau, there are additional handling fees. View the list of fees.

Court fees are payable when filing an application or requesting a document related to criminal proceedings. This includes Magistrate's Complaints and criminal appeals.

Most of these fees are prescribed by the law, and can be found in legislation such as the:

Hearing fees

Hearing fees are paid to the court for the hearing.

Criminal cases

For criminal cases, there are no hearing fees.

Civil cases

For civil cases, the hearing fees (1) depend on which court the case is heard in.

Refer to the following for the hearing fees for the respective tribunals.

Small Claims Tribunals

There are no hearing fees for small claims.

Employment Claims Tribunals

View the hearing fees for employment claims.

Community Disputes Resolution Tribunals

View the hearing fees for neighbour dispute claims.

The fees depend on the type of hearing.

Open court hearing before a district judge or magistrate

There are no hearing fees payable for the first day.

After the first day, the following fees are payable for the whole or part of each day of hearing:

  • District Court: $500
  • Magistrate's Court: $250
Hearing before a State Courts Registrar for examination of witnesses

The following fees are payable:

 

District Court

Magistrate's Court

On every appointment for the examination of a witness

$50

$50

On every witness sworn or examined, for each hour or part thereof

$100

$50

The fees depend on the type of hearing.

Hearing before a judge in the General Division of the High Court

The hearing fees depend on the number of hearing days and the value of the claim(2).

Number of hearing days

Value of claim is up to $1 million

Value of claim is more than $1 million

1st to 3rd day

No charge

No charge

4th day

$6,000 per day or part thereof

$9,000 per day or part thereof

5th day

$2,000 per day or part thereof

$3,000 per day or part thereof

6th to 10th day

$3,000 per day

$5,000 per day

11th day onwards

$5,000 per day

$7,000 per day

Hearing before a registrar in the General Division of the High Court for assessment of damages, taking of accounts, making of inquiries and references under Order 70, Rule 40

The hearing fees depend on the number of hearing days.

Number of hearing days

Hearing fees per day

1st to 3rd day

No charge

4th day onwards or part thereof (including the number of days taken for the determination of liability before a judge in the General Division) onwards, or part thereof

$1,000

Hearing before a registrar in the General Division of the High Court for examination of witnesses

The following fees are payable:

 

Value of claim is up to $1 million

Value of claim is more than $1 million

On every appointment for the examination of a witness

$100

$200

On every witness sworn or examined, for each hour or part thereof

$250

$500

There are no hearing fees payable for the first day.

After the first day, the following fees are payable for the whole or part of each day of hearing:

  • If the value of the claim is up to $1 million: $4,000
  • If the value of the claim is more than $1 million: $6,000

Family cases

Most cases in the Family Justice Courts do not require hearing fees. There are no hearing fees for cases under the following legislation (listed in Rule 991 of the Family Justice Rules):

  • Adoption of Children Act.
  • Guardianship of Infants Act.
  • Inheritance (Family Provision) Act.
  • Maintenance of Parents Act.
  • Mental Capacity Act.
  • Mental Health (Care and Treatment) Act.
  • Status of Children (Assisted Reproduction Technology) Act.
  • Vulnerable Adults Act.
  • Women's Charter.

The following hearing fees(3) only apply to cases that are not under any of the legislation listed above. These include probate and administration cases.

The hearing fees depend on the number of hearing days and the value of the claim.

Number of hearing days

Value is below or equivalent to $1 million

Value exceeding $1 million

1st to 3rd day

Free

Free

4th day

$6,000 per day or part thereof

$9,000 per day or part thereof

5th day

$2,000 per day or part thereof

$3,000 per day or part thereof

6th to 10th day

$3,000 per day or part thereof

$5,000 per day or part thereof

11th day onwards

$5,000 per day or part thereof

$7,000 per day or part thereof

There are no hearing fees payable for the first day.

After the first day, you will need to pay $500 for the whole or part of each day of hearing.

The hearing fees depend on the number of hearing days (which include the number of days taken for the determination of liability before a judge in the Family Division of the High Court).

Number of hearing days

Hearing fees per day

1st to 3rd day

No charge

4th day onwards

$1,000

The following fees are payable:

 

Family Division of the High Court cases

Family Court cases

On every appointment for the examination of a witness
  • Value of claim not exceeding $1 million: $100
  • Value of claim exceeding $1 million: $200

$50

On every witness sworn or examined, for each hour or part thereof
  • Value of claim not exceeding $1 million: $250
  • Value of claim exceeding $1 million: $500

$50

Lawyer fees

If you engage a lawyer for your case, you will need to pay the lawyer to give you legal advice, represent you in court, or help you prepare and submit documents required for your case. Contact a lawyer directly to find out their fees.

The courts are not able to provide legal advice or recommend lawyers. If you have difficulty affording the lawyer's fees, find out more about how to seek legal help.

(For appeal cases) Security for costs of appeal

Some appeal cases may require the appellant to provide security for the respondent's costs of the appeal. The amount of security required is prescribed in the Rules of Court. Security may also be required where a party files an application to the appellate court.

Fees for other court services

There are other fees payable depending on the services you require. These services include:

Find out more about other court services.

Related questions

In limited circumstances and upon application, Registrars have the power to waive, defer the payment of or refund all or part of the court fees for civil cases in accordance with Order 91, Rules 3 to 5 of the Rules of Court. For criminal proceedings, the court may, if it thinks fit, waive payment of the prescribed fees for copies of court records in accordance with Section 426(3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

A party seeking refund of court fees must apply within the timeline (1 to 3 months) set out in the specific rule under which the refund application is being made.

Refund of document fees

A filing party may apply to the Registrar for a refund of any fee which has been paid for any unused document. The Request for Refund of Filing Fees must be made within 3 months after the date of the payment of the fee to be refunded and is subject to the Registrar’s approval. A separate Request for Refund of Filing Fees must be filed for each unused document in respect of which a refund is sought.

For Supreme Court cases, the Appellate Division of the High Court or the Court of Appeal may, on the application of a party to an appeal, order a refund of any part of any fee which has been paid on the filing of the core bundle or supplemental core bundle or any bundle of documents that the Appellate Division or the Court of Appeal has given leave to file, if the court is satisfied that the documents comprised in that bundle were necessary for the just, expeditious and economical disposal of the appeal.

(For Supreme Court cases) Exemption of fees for criminal proceedings

Where the Registrar is satisfied that any cause or matter relates to or is predicated upon criminal proceedings that affect the life or liberty of a party, the Registrar may, on the application of that party, issue a certificate of exemption from any fee payable, or any required or authorised security for costs (Order 91, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court). If any fees were paid before the certificate was issued, the Registrar may refund any fee or part thereof which has been paid.

A party seeking the certificate of exemption must apply by way of a letter addressed to the Registrar stating the grounds (reasons) on which the application is made, together with all the necessary supporting documents.

Court hearing fees are fully refundable if the Registrar is notified in writing that the matter has been settled or discontinued not later than 14 days before the first scheduled hearing date (Order 90A, Rule 1(4) of the Rules of Court).

In other instances, such as if you did not use all the days allocated for the hearing, the Registrar may refund a discretionary amount. You must apply to the court for a refund by filing a Request for Refund of Hearing Fees via eLitigation within 1 month from the date of settlement or discontinuance, or from the last hearing date, whichever is later (Order 90A, Rule 1(3) and 1(5) of the Rules of Court).

For cases in the Appellate Division of the High Court or the Court of Appeal

Hearing fees paid for appeals or any other hearing before the Appellate Division of the High Court or the Court of Appeal are fully refundable if the appeal is deemed to have been withdrawn under Order 56A or Order 57 of the Rules of Court. In other instances, the court may refund a discretionary amount.

You must apply to the court for a refund by filing a Request for Refund of Hearing Fees via eLitigation within 1 month from the date of withdrawal of the appeal or application, or from the last hearing date, whichever is later.


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