​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 |
LawAccess NSW > Representing Yourself > Debt - small claims > Is someone chasing you for money?

Is someone chasing you for money?

This section is for people who are being chased for money. A person or business who owes money (or is claimed to owe money) is called a 'debtor'. A person or business who is owed money (or thinks they are) i​s called a 'creditor'.

This section covers the steps involved when someone starts a claim against you in 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.

You can read through these steps in order or jump straight to the step that is relevant to you. ​

    ​​Case study 1 - Meena and FionaCase study icon

    Fiona used to have her own shop, Fantastic Florists. Over the past couple of months business was slow. Fiona heard from a friend that Meena was telling people Fantastic Florists owes Meena almost $4000 for IT work. Fiona doesn't think she should have to pay. The website didn't work properly and the computer system kept crashing. Meena called Fiona yesterday and said that she is going to start a court case if she doesn't pay her the money. Fiona is very worried because she doesn't have any money for a lawyer and has never been to court before.​

    Case study 2 - Charlie and KylieCase study icon

    Last year Kylie was given $2000 by Charlie, her sister Jenny's boyfriend, to help her pay off some traffic fines and get her licence back. Kylie thought that the money was a gift until Charlie started calling her and asking for the $2000 back. Kylie noticed that Charlie only said the money was a loan after he broke up with Jenny. Kylie is worried because she doesn't have any savings and can't possibly pay Charlie $2000. Kylie is also upset because she thought that the money was a gift and now Charlie is trying to get the money back from her, saying that it was a loan.​

    Responding to a letter of demand

    You have four options when you receive a letter of demand:

    • admit that you owe some or all of the money and try to negotiate an agreement for payment
    • deny that you owe the money
    • ask for further information or documents about the alleged debt
    • do nothing (but this option isn't a good idea).

    For more information on your options when you get a letter of demand, see Responding to a letter of demand.

    Responding to a Statement of Claim

    A court case about a debt is started with a document called a Statement of Claim. You will be sent or given a copy.

    There are a number of things you can do when you receive a Statement of Claim including:

    • ask for more information.
    • file a Defence denying that you owe all or part of the money claimed. The time limit to do this is 28 days from the date you are served with the Statement of Claim.
    • file an Acknowledgment of Liquidated Claim admitting that you owe the debt.
    • file a Cross Claim, with your Defence, claiming that the plaintiff or someone else owes you money.
    • negotiate with the plaintiff.
    • do nothing (but this option isn't a good idea because the plaintiff can get 'default judgment' against you).

    For more information, see Responding to a Statement of Claim.

    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 Checklist: Important dates for the defendant.

    Alert Icon  Before you decide if you want to defend a court case, you should consider the strength of your defence by getting legal advice. If you lose the court case you may have to pay the filing and service fees and other costs in addition to the amount you owe. If the plaintiff has a solicitor or barrister appearing for them, you may also have to pay some of their legal costs. For more information, see Legal costs.

    During the case

    This section covers:

    • How to ask for more information
    • Applying to set aside a default judgment
    • Filing a Defence
    • Pre Trial review
    • Hearing

    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 win the case and the court finds that you don't owe the money then you can apply to have the plaintiff pay some of your costs.

    If you don't defend the claim, or lose the case, the plaintiff can take enforcement action against you if you don't pay the judgment debt.

    For more information, see After the case.