When you begin a court application, there is usually a filing fee that you will have to pay. Filing fees, and other court fees, are set out in Nova Scotia’s Costs and Fees Act. If you are filing documents for an application that has already been started, there usually are no additional filing fees for this. For example, if you started an application a month ago and paid your filing fee then, and are now filing an affidavit for that application, you will not have to pay a separate filing fee for your affidavit.
Many court processes, like settlement conferences, conciliation or court hearings, do not carry additional fees. These are part of the overall court process that you already paid your application fee for (though you may have to pay fees if you hire a lawyer to represent you during these processes, for example). The Costs and Fees Act does not cover fees for independent services, like how much a process server might charge.
You may have to pay a fee for other services, like mediation or assessments, and how much you pay for these will depend on your income. These amounts are also set out in the Costs and Fees Act.
Visit the Courts website for links to different court fee tables.
What if I cannot pay the filing fee?
If your income is under a certain monthly amount, you may qualify to have your fees waived. You will have to fill out a waiver form, and provide proof of your income to show that you qualify. Your proof of income may be a paystub, recent tax return, or employment insurance or social assistance statement. If you have no income at all, or cannot prove your income, a letter from your doctor, clergy member, or other official may also be accepted. If you are unsure what to use as proof of income, check with court staff.
For the eligibility criteria for a waiver of fees, and for the waiver application form, visit the Courts website.
Sometimes, you will be required to file several copies of each of your documents with the court. This is not a free service done by the court. The Costs and Fees Act requires that court staff charge around 76¢ per page for photocopying. You can do your photocopying elsewhere – you are not required to do your photocopying at the court.