Going to court

If you can't resolve your di​spute, you may end up in court. However, it is a good idea to try to avoid going to court by settling your dispute, if possible. For more information, see Resolving your dispute.

    Which court?

    A court case to recover a debt in NSW is dealt with in:

    • ​​​the Small Claims Division of th​e Local Court where the claim is for up to $10,000
    • the General Division of the Local Court where the claim is for more than $10,000 and up to $100,000 (or $120,000 in some limited circumstances)
    • the District Court or the Supreme Court where the claim is for more than $100,000 (or $120,000 in some limited circumstances)
    • the Supreme Court where the claim is for possession under a mortgage.

    ​Time limits

    The time limit to start a court case to recover a debt is six years from when the money came owed, when the last repayment was made, or when the debt was last acknowledged in writing (whichever comes last). If you are unsure, you should get legal advice

    Does someone owe you money?

    If you are owed money, you will need to decide whether to start a case. 

    You should carefully consider whether or not it is worth starting a court case. For more information, see Should you go to court?

    For information about going to court to recover a debt of $10,000 or less, see the Local Courts – Small Claims topic in the Representing Yourself section of this website. Read through the section 'Does someone owe you money?'

    If you are owed more than $10,000, you should get legal advice​. For some information, see Local Court - General Division.

    Is someone chasing you for money?

    If someone is chasing you for money and they start a court case against you, you will need to decide how to respond to the court case. 

    For more information about responding to a court case claiming $10,000 or less, see the Local Courts – Small Claims topic in the Representing Yourself section of this website. Read through the section 'Is someone chasing you for money?'

    If you are being chased for more than $10,000, you should get legal advice​. For some information, see Local Court - General Division.

    Man filing a document at the local court registry 

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