​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 |

Presenting your case at the hearing - Frequently Asked Questions

If the debt is a mortgage, loan or credit card you should get legal advice. You may have other options.

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1. Do I have​​ to g​​​​o to the hearing​?​​​

You must go to the hearing. If you don't go to the hearing, your claim or Defence could be dismissed.

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2. What if I can't go to court​​ on the hearing date?

If you cannot attend the hearing, you can contact the other party and ask if they will agree to change the hearing date and what dates they are a​vailable. If they agree, you can send a letter or fax to the court explaining:

   a. why you​ need the hearing date changed
   b. that the other party has agreed to change the hearing date
   c. dates that you and the other party are available for a ​hearing.​​

​The court will consider your letter and let you know the new hearing date.

If the other party will not agree to change the hearing date, you can still write to the court and ask the court to change the hearing date. It is important to attach supporting information to your letter, such as a letter from your doctor or employer to explain why you cannot attend the hearing. The assessor or magistrate will only consider your letter on the day of the hearing. There is a risk that the hearing will go ahead without you.

Alert Icon  It is important that you write to the court at least 21 days before the hearing date. If it is less than 21 days before the hearing date you should contact the court as soon as possible.


3. What if I am running late for the​ hearing?

If you are running late for the hearing it is important that you ring the court registry and let them know. Otherwise, you risk your claim or defence being dismissed and a costs order being made against you if you are not in the courtroom when your case is dealt with.

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4. What happens if the plaintiff​ doesn't come to the hearing?

It depends on whether the plaintiff has contacted the court. If the plaintiff has contacted the court and advised that they are running late, the court may hear other matters first and delay the start of the hearing.

If the plaintiff does not turn up and has not contacted the court, you can still ask the court to dismiss the case. This means that the court case will end because the plaintiff has not taken the necessary steps to pursue the case. The court will decide whether it is willing to dismiss the case. If the plaintiff has failed to turn up on other court dates you should mention this to the assessor or magistrate. The court may adjourn (postpone) the hearing to a later date rather than dismiss the case.


5. Do my witnesses have to attend​​ the hearing?

In the Small Claims Division, witnesses do not usually attend the hearing. The assessor will look at the written statements from witnesses. Your witnesses should only come to the hearing if the registrar gave permission for this at the Pre Trial Review. For more information, see Pre Trial Review - Step by step guide.


6. How long will the hearing take?​

You will probably be at the court for about an hour. However, it could be a shorter or longer time depending on how many other cases are on the court list that day.


7. What should I wear to the hearing?​​

You do not have to dress very formally but you are expected to be neat and tidy. For more information, see What to do, say and wear in court.

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8. If I lose, do I have to pay costs to​ the other party?

The court will normally order that the party who loses the case pays the costs of the party who wins the case.

Costs orders in the Small Claims Division include court filing and service fees, other expenses for the case such as fees for searches, and a limited amount for legal representation (professional costs) as set out in the table below (as at July 2016):

Amount of Claim Maximum professional costs including GST
$0.01-$1000 $401.28
$1000.01-$5000 $601.92
$5000.01-$10 000 $802.56

If the other party wins but they did not have a lawyer, you will not be ordered to pay professional costs. In the Small Claims Division, the court generally cannot make a costs order for things such as travel expenses or loss of wages related to attending court.

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9. If I win, can I ask for my costs ​to be paid by the other party?

You can ask for a costs order in your favour to recover the money you have spent on filing and service fees. If you did not have a lawyer, you will not be awarded an amount for professional costs. In the Small Claims Division, the court generally cannot make a costs order to cover things such as your travel expenses or loss of wages related to attending court.