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Applying for default judgment for goods - Step by step guide​

Icon: Page with numbered listApplying for defa​u​lt ​​​judgment fo​​r goods - Ste​​​p ​by step guide

Step 1: Find ou​t date​ ​of service 

You cannot get a default judgment unless 28 days have passed since the defendant was served with the Statement of Claim.

If you did not serve the defendant yourself, you can find out when they were served by:

  • calling the court, if the court served the Statement of Claim by post
  • looking at the Affidavit of Service prepared by the process server 
  • asking the friend or relative who served the Statement of Claim.

For service by post on an individual or a company, the Statement of Claim is taken to be served on the fourth working day after it was posted.

For service on a business running under a business name or a partnership, the Statement of Claim is taken to be served at the end of seven days after the day it was posted.

Icon: Hint  If the 28 th day falls on a weekend or public holiday, the defendant will be able to file the defence up to the next working day. You can file for default judgment the next working day after that if they don't.

Step 2: Get t​he for​​ms

You need two forms:

  • Form 37 Notice of Motion - Default judgment for detention of goods
  • Form 41 Affidavit of Service

You can get copies of forms from:

You will not need the Affidavit of Service form if the court served the Statement of Claim by post. If it was served by a process server, they should have already filled out and signed an Affidavit of Service.

Step 3:​​​​ Arrange for Affidavit of Service form to be filled out and signed or get completed form from the process server

An Affidavit of Service is evidence that the Statement of Claim has been served on the defendant. For information on filling out and signing an Affidavit of Service, see

Step 4: Fill out an​d sign​​ Notice of Motion form

You can fill out the Notice of Motion form in neat handwriting in blue or black pen. You can also fill it out on your computer screen. The Guide to Completing Approved Forms hs instructions on how to do this.

It will help to have your copy of the Statement of Claim and the completed Affidavit of Service with you while you fill out the Notice of Motion. You should fill in the Notice of Motion with the same court details and title of proceedings that are on the Statement of Claim.

In the Notice of Motion form under the heading 'Affidavit' you need to say:

  • whether any goods have been returned to you since you filed the Statement of Claim, or that no goods have been returned
  • any payments made by the defendant to you since you filed the Statement of Claim, or that no payment has been made
  • the amount you are claiming for filing and service fees
  • how and when the Statement of Claim was served on the defendant
  • how you know that goods or money have or have not been returned or paid to you.

If you are asking for payment for the value of the goods, you should also include:

  • information about how you worked out the value of the goods
  • any documents that support your claim (such as receipts, quotes, advertisements for replacement goods and valuations).

You will have to 'swear' and sign the affidavit in front of a Justice of the Peace (JP) or a lawyer, who will also have to witness your signature.

For detailed instructions, see Instructions for filling out a Notice of Motion - Default Judgment for Detention of Goods.

To look at a completed form, see Sample Notice of Motion - Default Judgment for Detention of Goods.

For more information on signing affidavits, see Affidavits.

Your application for default judgment can be for:

  • the return of the goods
  • for the payment of money equal to the value of the goods.

You should get legal advice before deciding which you want to ask for and applying for default judgment.

If your application for default judgment is for the return of goods only, or for the value of the goods only, you can later apply to the court to change the order. For example, if you got judgment for the delivery of the goods only, and the goods were destroyed before they were delivered to you, you may be able to apply to the court to have the judgment changed to the value of the goods.

This topic only deals with default judgment for return of the goods or payment for the value of the goods. It does not deal with damages for loss of use of the goods, which you may also be able to claim if you lost income because you did not have the goods. If you want to claim damages you should get legal advice.

Step 5: Fi​le the ​forms at court

The final step is to take or send the Notice of Motion and the Affidavit of Service to the Local Court where the Statement of Claim was filed.

You must file the Notice of Motion within 14 days of swearing the affidavit.

You should apply for default judgment within nine months of filing the Statement of Claim. The court may dismiss your claim after nine months if you and/or the defendant have filed nothing further in the case.

You don't have to file any extra copies but if you want sealed (stamped) copies for your records you need to file copies as well as the originals. The court will return the copies to you.

There is no filing fee for the Notice of Motion and the Affidavit of Service and you do not have to serve copies on the defendant.

Step 6: Get your d​​efault judgment

The registrar at the Local Court will either grant or refuse your Notice of Motion applying for default judgment without a hearing. You will not have to attend court.

If you are seeking payment for the value of the goods instead of their return, you may have to attend court. The court has to decide what the goods are worth, and may do this in chambers (by looking at the evidence provided by you without the need for a hearing) or in a hearing that you will have to attend.

For more information, see Assessment hearing - Step by step guide.

In most instances, the court will enter a default judgment for the detention of the goods if the Notice of Motion and Affidavit of Service show:

  • that the defendant was properly served with the Statement of Claim
  • that it is more than 28 days since the date of service
  • that the goods have not been returned and that no payment has been made for the value of the goods, and
  • the court records show that the defendant has not filed a Defence.

Once you have a default judgment you can enforce the judgment against the defendant. For more information on enforcing a default judgment, see Enforcing a judgment.

​The defendant can apply at any time to set aside a default judgment. For more information, see Responding to an Application to Set Aside Default Judgment.