​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 |

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Serving the Statement of Claim - Frequently Asked Questions


​​1. How long do I have t​o serve the​​ Statement of Claim after it is filed with the court?

The Statement of Claim is valid, and able to be served, for 6 months after the date it was filed at court.

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2. How do I decide whether to serve ​​the Statement of Claim personally or by post?

Serving the Statement of Claim is the way you tell the defendant that you are making a claim and gives them an opportunity to defend the claim.

Under the court rules, personal and postal service are equally valid. Remember that only the court can serve an individual defendant by post. There is a risk that if you serve the Statement of Claim by post or leave it with someone else at the defendant's home or place of business, the defendant may not receive it. If you get a default judgment against the defendant, the defendant may later apply to have the default judgment set aside because they did not receive a copy of the Statement of Claim.

Personal service can cost more than postal service if you pay a process server to serve the Statement of Claim. If you or a friend serve the Statement of Claim, you may have to try several times before you find the defendant at home or their place of business.

For more information, see Serving the Statement of Claim, ​Default judgment and Responding to an application to set aside a default judgment.


3. What is the date of service when the​ Statement of Claim is served by post?

For service by post on an individual or a company, the date of service is the fourth working day after it was posted.

For service on a business running under a business name, or a partnership, the date of service is at the end of seven days after it was posted.

If your Statement of Claim was posted by the court, you can call the court to find out the date it was posted.

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4. What if the defendant refuses to ​​answer the door, or avoids personal service?

If the defendant remains inside their home or business and refuses to answer the door or gate when someone is trying to serve court documents, this is called 'keeping house'.

The court rules say that if a defendant is keeping house, the person serving the Statement of Claim can leave it in the letter box, or pin it to a door, or pin it to a surrounding fence or wall. You have to post a letter to the defendant within 24 hours to tell them where the Statement of Claim was left.

The Affidavit of Service needs to:

  • describe how the defendant is 'keeping house'
  • explain where the Statement of Claim was left/pinned
  • state that the letter was sent, what the letter said as well as where and when it was posted. 


5. What if the defendant is violent or​​​ threatening when I try to serve the Statement of Claim?

If you or the person trying to serve the Statement of Claim are the victim of violence or threats of violence, the Statement of Claim can be left as close as possible to the defendant without putting yourself at risk.

The Affidavit of Service should describe the violence or threats and explain where the Statement of Claim was left. 


6. What is substituted service?​​

Sometimes a plaintiff is not able to serve a defendant in any of the ways set out in the court rules. For example, a Statement of Claim served by post may be returned to sender, or when you try personal service the defendant may have moved house.

In these circumstances, you could ask the court to make orders for substituted service. This means that the court gives permission for you to give the defendant the Statement of Claim in some other way.

There is no set process in the Small Claims Division to ask the court to make orders for substituted service. You could write a letter to the court explaining that you want to ask the court to make orders about substituted service and enclose an affidavit. The affidavit should:

  • explain why you have been unable to serve the Statement of Claim in the ways set out in the court rules
  • explain what steps you have taken to try and locate the defendant
  • set out alternative ways that the Statement of Claim could be brought to the attention of defendant.

For more information, see Sample letter and affidavit - Application for Substituted Service.

Car icon  If your claim is about a car accident, see Sample letter and affidavit - Application for Substituted Service - Car Accidents.


7. Can I serve a defendant who is not​ in NSW?

Yes, you can file a claim in the Local Court against a defendant who doesn't live in NSW but lives in Australia. However, you should get legal advice before you do this.

Hint icon  You serve the Statement of Claim in the same way as you would serve the document in NSW. You will need to add an extra section to your Statement of Claim called 'Service in Australia but Outside NSW'. You also need to add a notice, which is required under the Service and Execution of Process Act 1992 (Cth). For more information, see Sample Statement of Claim 3 - Interstate service.

Car icon  If your claim is about a car accident and the defendant lives outside of NSW, see Sample Statement of Claim service outside of NSW - Car Accidents.

If the defendant does not file a Defence, you can get a default judgment in the usual way. Once you have a default judgment, you can register it in the equivalent of the Local Court in the state where the defendant lives and enforce it under the rules of that court.

The defendant may ask the court to stop the case on the ground that the claim should have been filed in the other state. You should get legal advice if this happens.

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8. Can I serve a defendant who lives or​ has a business overseas?

No, if your case is in the Local Court you cannot serve the Statement of Claim overseas. If you are in this situation, you should get legal advice. ​​