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​Assessment hearing - goods

If you have applied for a default judgment for goods and you are seeking payment for their value (rather than the goods back), you may need to attend an assessment hearing at court.

If the court decides to hold an asses​sment hearing, you will be sent a listing notice telling you when and where you have to go to court.

AlertIf you are unsure what to do at the assessment hearing, you should get legal advice​. 

To find out how to prepare for an assessment hearing, follow the steps in the guide on this page.

​ Icon: Page with numbered listAssessment hearing - Step by step guide​​ 

​Step 1: Prepare for the assessment hearing 

You will need to prepare evidence that will show the value of the goods you are claiming.

Affidavit evidence 

When you filed your application for default judgment, you should have included in your affidavit in support, evidence about the value of the goods.

If you believe there is more information that you could provide, you should prepare a written statement or affidavit form. The court will give directions on how to file your evidence.

Depending on the type of goods and how they came into your possession, you could include information in your statement or affidavit about:

  • the purchase price of the goods and when they were purchased (if they were purchased) 
  • the second hand value  of the goods, for example, the price of second hand goods of a similar type. 

AlertIf you are unable to find second hand goods of a similar type, you should get legal advice​.

For some types of goods (for example if they are rare) you may be able to get an expert to give an affidavit about the value of the goods, and how they were valued. Before getting an expert witness to write and sign an affidavit, you should get legal advice​. There are special rules for using expert witnesses.  

Other documents 

Some examples of documents that you could provide to support your claim include: 

  • receipts for the purchase of the goods 
  • advertisements or quotes that show the cost of similar goods 
  • photographs in colour 
  • descriptions of the goods. 

You should attach these supporting documents to your statement or affidavit as 'annexures', and refer to them.

For more information on statements or affidavits, see Affida​vits, statements and statutory declarations in the Legal Skills topic of Representing Yourself.

File your statement or affidavit with the court 

The court may make orders about filing your statement or affidavit and evidence, including when to file them. If you are not sure when you have to file them, it's a good idea to file them as soon as possible or contact the court.  

Plan what you are going to say in court 

You could use the following format: 

  • state briefly the circumstances of your claim, for example, how the goods came to be in the defendant's possession and how much you are claiming
  • mention the affidavits and other evidence that support your claim and the dollar value for the goods

Remember that before the hearing the assessor or magistrate will have read the documents you have filed so you don't need to repeat everything that is in your statement or affidavit. 

Step 2: Go to court 

You should make sure you get to the court at least 30 minutes before the time for your case in the Notice of Listing. When you arrive you should: 

  • ​​look for the court list, which will be stuck on the wall or a noticeboard in the waiting area 
  • make a note of the number of your case in the list and check which courtroom your case is in 
  • let the court officer know you have arrived
  • ask a court officer or go to the court registry if you can't find your name on a court list
  • go and sit in the chairs at the back of the courtroom if the courtroom is open
  • sit near the courtroom door and wait for the courtroom to be opened if it is closed. 

Be prepared to wait some time as other cases may be dealt with before yours. If you wait outside the courtroom make sure you are close enough to the courtroom to hear if your case is called.

The magistrate or assessor may adjourn (close) the courtroom for morning tea, usually around 11:30am, or for lunch, usually from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. You will have to leave the court room during these breaks. 

If you are running late, you should call the court registry to let them know. The court may dismiss your claim if you are not in the courtroom at the time the case is listed.

Remember to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom.

Step 3: The assessment hearing 

The defendant will not usually attend an assessment hearing where a default judgment has been awarded. 

The magistrate or assessor may ask you to present your case. You should briefly: 

  • ​outline what you believe the goods are worth 
  • point out evidence that supports this amount 
  • refer to your statement or affidavit and other evidence. 

You can speak from prepared notes. This can be helpful if you are nervous. 

The magistrate or assessor may ask you some questions or ask you to explain some things in more detail. The magistrate or assessor may also ask you to move on to another point if they feel you have said enough about a certain issue or that you are speaking about something that is not relevant to the case. 

The magistrate or assessor will often give their decision straight after the hearing, or after a short break. They will give reasons for their decision. They can also include a costs order against the defendant, if a lawyer is representing you at the assessment hearing.

Once you know how much money for the value of the goods you can claim from the defendant, you can enforce the judgment. For more information, see Enforcement.