​ሕግንና ደንብን በተመለከተ እርዳታ ማግኘት ይፈልጋሉን? - Amharic | هل تحتاج لمساعدة قانونية؟ - Arabic | ܤܢܝܼܩܵܐ ܝ݇ܘ̤ܬ ܠܗܲܝܵܪܬܵܐ ܩܵܢܘܿܢܵܝܬܵܐ؟ - Assyrian | Need Legal Help? - Auslan | Treba li vam pravna pomoc? - Bosnian | Burmese â Need Legal Help? | 需要法律帮助吗? - Chinese Simplified | 需要法律幫助嗎? - Chinese Traditional | Trebate li pravnu pomoć? - Croatian | ضرورت به کمک قانونی دارید؟ - Dari | Wïc Kuɔɔny në Wɛ̈t Löŋ? - Dinka | آیا به کمک حقوقی نیاز دارید؟ - Farsi | Gadreva na Veivuke Vakalawa? - Fijian | Kailangan ninyo ba ng tulong na panglegal? - Filipino | Besoin d’aide juridique ? - French | Χρειάζεστε βοήθεια σε νομικά ζητήματα - Greek | क्या आपको कानूनी सलाह चाहिए? - Hindi | Butuhkan Bantuan dalam Masalah Hukum? - Indonesian | Hai bisogno di assistenza legale? - Italian | ត្រូវការជំនួយលើបញ្ហាផ្លូវច្បាប់ឬទេ? - Khmer | 법적인 도움이 필요하십니까? - Korean | Ви треба ли помош со правни работи? - Macedonian | कानूनी सहयोग चाहिएको छ? - Nepalese | Necessita de ajuda com questões jurídicas? - Portuguese | Вам нужна юридическая помощь? - Russian | E Manaomia Fesoasoani i Mea Tau Tulafono? - Samoan | а ли вам треба помоћ у правним питањима? - Serbian | Ma u baahan tahay Caawimmad xagga sharciga ah?- Somali | ¿Necesita ayuda con cuestiones jurídicas? - Spanish | சட்ட உதவி தேவையா? - Tamil | ท่านต้องการความช่วยเหลือทางด้านกฎหมายไหม? - Thai | Fiema’u ha tokoni Fakalao? - Tongan | Yasal Danışmaya İhtiyacınız mı var? - Turkish | Cần Được Giúp Đỡ Về Luật Pháp? - Vietnamese |

Does someone owe you money? 

This section is for people who are owed money. If you are owed money you are called a 'creditor'.

This section covers the steps to m​ake a claim against someone who owes you money (called the debtor) using the Small Claims Division of the Local Court. The Small Claims Division is for debts of $10 000 or less and was set up with simplified procedures so that people do not need to have a lawyer.​

    Case study icon​Case study 1 - Meena and Fiona

    Meena runs a small business from home, doing website design and IT support for other small busines​ses. One of her regular clients, Fantastic Florists, has failed to pay her for the last three months work and there is now almost $4000 outstanding. Meena has sent a couple of reminder letters but there has been no response. Meena can't afford to wait much longer for the payments, or she will start getting behind with her own bills. When Meena complained to her friend, George, he suggested that she see a lawyer but Meena knows she doesn't have enough money to do this.​​

    Case study 2 - Charlie and KylieCase study icon

    Last year Charlie lent $2000 to his girlfriend's sister, Kylie. Kylie needed to pay a lot of fines so that she could get her drivers licence back. The agreement was that Kylie would pay the money back by Christmas, but now it is July and she still hasn't paid. Charlie has broken up with his girlfriend, and Kylie seems to be avoiding him. Charlie needs the money because he is starting a course soon and will only be working part time.​

    If you are like Meena and Charlie and someone owes you money, you could make a claim in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court.

    Do I have to go to court?

    Before starting a case in the Small Claims Division you should consider:

    • Writing a letter of demand
    • Negotiating with the debtor
    • Contacting Community Justice Centres about free mediation.

    For more information, see Do I have to go to court?

    Starting a case

    If the debt is still not paid, starting a case in the Small Claims Division involves:

    • Getting a Statement of Claim form
    • Filling out and signing the Statement of Claim form and making copies
    • Filing the Statement of Claim form at a Local Court and paying the fee
    • Serving the Statement of Claim on the debtor.

    Small Claims Division cases involve a lot of documents. Your case will run more smoothly if you are well organised and prepared. For more information, see Managing your case and Checklist: Important dates for the plaintiff.

    For more information, see Starting a case.

    During the case

    What happens next depends on whether the debtor decides to defend the claim.

    If the debtor:

    • does not file a defence, the next step is to apply to the court for a default judgment.
    • files a defence, the next steps are to attend the pre trial review and try and settle the case. If the case doesn't settle, you will need to prepare for a hearing of the case and attend the hearing. If you win the hearing, the court will make a judgment that the debtor owes you all or part of the money.

    This section covers:

    • Preparing for a hearing
    • Presenting your case at the hearing
    • Default judgment

    For more information, see During the case.

    Settling the case

    You can try to settle the case at any time. You can settle a case through negotiation or mediation. If you settle the matter after a case has started, you should put the agreement in writing.

    For more information, see Settling the case.

    After the case

    If you get a default judgment, or win the case after a hearing, and the debtor still does not pay, the final step is to enforce the judgment.

    For more information, see After the case. ​​

     Photograph: Two women in a florist
     
     

    Further information

    ​​​Community Justice Centres