If you lost the case, there will be a judgment against you. The judgment is a court order that you have to pay money to the plaintiff.
The amount of money will be the debt, plus filing and service fees, professional costs if the plaintiff had a lawyer, and interest (if the debt is more than $1000). Altogether this is called the 'judgment debt'.
After judgment, you are called the 'judgment debtor' and the plaintiff is called the 'judgment creditor'.
If there is a judgment against you there are a number of things you can do:
You could negotiate with the judgment creditor about time to pay, paying a smaller lump sum or paying by instalments. For more information, see
Negotiating with the creditor after judgment.
If you cannot come to an agreement with the creditor to pay by instalments you can apply to the court to pay the judgment debt by instalments. If the court makes an order that you pay by instalments and you keep to the order, this will stop the judgment creditor from taking any other action to enforce the debt. For information on how to do this, see
Payment by instalments - Step by step guide.
If you do nothing the judgment creditor may take action to try and make you pay the judgment debt (this is called 'enforcement action'). It is not a good idea to leave things until the creditor takes enforcement action. For information on this see,
Responding to enforcement action.
If you want to stop the creditor taking any action, you could apply to the court for an order that stops the judgment creditor from enforcing the judgment debt for a period of time. This is called a stay of enforcement. See
Stay of proceedings/stay of enforcement.
If the court made default judgment without you being there, you can ask the court to set aside the judgment if you would now like to defend the claim (because you believe you do not owe all or part of the money claimed). This is called 'setting aside default judgment'. See
Applying to set aside default judgment.
It is possible to appeal. Appeals from the Small Claims Division are filed in the District Court. You
cannot appeal simply because you don't like the decision of the magistrate or assessor or think they made a wrong decision.
There are only two grounds for appeal from the Small Claims Division. These grounds are:
You must file a notice of appeal within 28 days of the judgment. It is very important that you get
legal advice before filing an appeal. If you lose the appeal, you could be ordered to pay a lot of legal costs.
If you are not able to pay the debt, you can think about bankruptcy. This is a serious step that will affect your future. You should get
legal advice and speak to a financial counsellor first. For referral to a free financial counselling service contact the
Financial Counsellors Association of NSW.
If you won the case, the plaintiff's claim was dismissed and the case is now finished. You do not have to pay the amount claimed.
The court may make orders that the plaintiff pays your legal costs. For more information on this see
If you filed a cross claim against the plaintiff, you may have an order that the plaintiff pay you money. In this case, you are in the position of the plaintiff. If you want to enforce the judgment, see
After the case - Creditor.