After you file your defence, the court will send you a notice telling you the date and time you will need to attend court for the pre-trial review. To find out how you can prepare for the pre-trial review, follow the steps in the guide on this page.
You should give yourself plenty of time to prepare for the pre-trial review by reading through your documents including those you have received from the plaintiff. These documents could include:
Reading through these documents is important because the registrar or magistrate may ask you questions about them. Knowing the answers to these questions may help the registrar or magistrate make orders in your case and avoid unnecessary delays.
You should think about what evidence you have to support your case. For example, any witness statements, documents or photos.
Preparing your evidence beforehand may help you decide if there are any missing documents that you think would help your case or if there are any witnesses that you would like to attend the hearing to give evidence.
Sometimes another person or organisation has documents or evidence that you need to support your case. For example, you might want a statement from a bank to show a cheque was deposited.
At the pre-trial review, you can ask the court for permission to issue a subpoena to produce. This is a court order to a person or organisation to bring documents to the court on a certain date. Subpoenas are rarely issued in the Small Claims Division.
A witness is someone who can say something about the facts in your case. In the Small Claims Division witnesses usually give their evidence in a written statement. Witnesses are rarely allowed to give evidence in person in Small Claims Division hearings.
You should think about how many statements you plan to have so that you can tell the registrar.
If you believe that it would be better for a witness to come to court to give evidence, you have to ask the court for permission to issue a subpoena to attend to give evidence when you go to the pre-trial review.
A subpoena to attend to give evidence is a court order requiring a person to attend court to give evidence on a certain date. You will need to explain to the court why you think the witness needs to give evidence in person.
At the pre-trial review, the magistrate or registrar will ask if you have attempted to settle the case, and if not, whether you and the plaintiff would be interested in trying to settle the case.
For these reasons, it is important that you:
The date for the pre-trial review will be on a letter you received from the court. If you cannot find the letter, you can call the court. The court's contact details will be on the statement of claim or you can get them from the
Local Court website.
If you cannot get to court for the pre-trial review, you should contact the court as soon as possible and ask to attend by telephone. Permission will usually only be given if you live a long way from the court.
The registrar may ask you if there are any dates in the next few months that you won't be available to attend the hearing.
If there are dates you cannot attend, make sure you make a note of this.
To make sure you have everything you need for court, see Checklist: Pre-trial review.