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LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Local Court - Small Claims

Does someone owe you money or goods?

This section has step-by-step information for people who want to start a small claim in court to recover money, goods or the cost of repairs to a vehicle damaged in a c​ar accident. A 'small claim' is a claim for $10,000 or less. The case is started in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court. 

You will find information on how to start a case in court, the steps in the court process, what to do when you settle your case and how to get a court judgment paid.

It is really important to try and reach an agreement with the other party before going to court. For information on what you can do before you go to court including sending a letter of demand and going to mediation, go to the relevant topic:

The court process will cost you money, time and energy. Think about whether it is worth starting a case in court. For more information, see:

AlertThe information in this topic should not be used if your claim is about a dispute over a consumer contract, goods held by a business, tenancy matter or family law matter. If you are unsure, get legal advice​ about your situation.

    Starting your case 

    If you have tried to resolve your matter without going to court and the other party still won't pay the money owed or give you your goods back, you may need to start a court case. 

    This section has information on the steps for starting a case in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court.

    • ​Preparing a statement of claim form
    • Serving a statement of claim form
    • The defendant's response
    • Stopping your case
    • Default judgment

    For more information, see Starting your case​. 

    During your case

    If the defendant does not agree that they owe some or all of the money or goods you are claiming they can decide to defend your claim.

    If the defendant disagrees with your claim, they will file a defence form and the court will send you a copy. In the defence form, the defendant should explain why they disagree with your claim. Your case will then go to a hearing.

    This section has information about what happens after the defendant files a defence form in response to your statement of claim form:

    • ​​Pre-trial review
    • The hearing
    • The decision.

    For more information, see During your case

    Settling your case 

    You can try to settle the case at any time. If you reach an agreement with the other party, it is a good idea to put the agreement in writing. You will also need to take steps to end the court case.

    This section has information on what you should do if you settle your case.

    • ​Write down the agreement 
    • Stopping the case.

    For more information, see Settling your case

    After court 

    If you win the case or you get a default judgment and the other party still does not pay or return the goods to you, you can take steps to get the money paid or the goods returned. This is called enforcement.

    If you lost the case, you may be able to appeal.

    This section has information about:

    • ​Appeals and reviews
    • Being paid in instalments
    • Enforcement

    For more information, see After court.

    Woman filing a form at a local court registry 

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