HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has recently made some changes to the Help with Fees (HWF) (also known as fee remission) process. Applicants can now also apply for HWF online at www.gov.uk/help-with-court-fees.
The HWF service helps the public with their court, tribunal or probate fees if they receive certain benefits or have a low income. When an applicant applies for HWF, HMCTS will check directly with the Department of Work and Pensions whether they receive the qualifying benefits, and determine whether their income makes them eligible for help with their fees.
When an applicant applies for HWF the court, tribunal or office will progress the claim or case. If more information is needed, we will let the applicant know what is needed. If the applicant is not eligible, we will let them know.
To make sure we can link the HWF online application to a particular case or a claim, the online service will generate a reference number (e.g. HWF-A73-L8T) which the user will be asked to write on their claim form. We have also introduced HWF reference number boxes on the claim forms, so there is a place for users to write this reference number.
As employment tribunal claims are already submitted online, there is a slightly different process in the way the online applications get sent to the tribunal.
We will continue to ask applicants to make a self-assessment of their eligibility, but no longer need every applicant to send paperwork (such as bank statements and payslips) to support their application. However, some applicants will still be asked to supply paperwork as part of their application, so they should keep records of their pay and benefits documents.
The online service has been developed in partnership with users and tested extensively to make sure it offers a better experience.
Please share this information to anyone who may be eligible to benefit from this change at the point they contact you for help / advice.
We would welcome your feedback at www.gov.uk/help-with-court-fees to help us to continue to improve the service.
Isabel Syred, Help with Fees Project Manager
HMCTS Reform Programme