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Filing a Defence - Step by step guide

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

If you have been served with a Statement of Claim form, this means that a person has made a claim in court that you owe them money or have their goods. In the Statement of Claim you are called the 'defendant' and the other person is called the 'plaintiff'. If you do not agree that you owe all the money or the goods being claimed, these are the steps you need to take to defend the case:          

If you ar​​e not sure whether you should defend the claim you should get legal advice.

Step-by-step guide icon  Filing a Defence - Step by step guide

Step​​ 1: Check the date the Statement of Claim was served

The time limit for filing a defence at the court is 28 days from the date that you were served with the Statement of Claim. If you do not file a Defence within 28 days the plaintiff may get judgment against you without you being notified. This is called a default judgment. Once judgment is entered against you the plaintiff can start enforcing the judgment debt. If 28 days has passed, contact the court to see if there is a default judgment against you. If there is no default judgment, you can still file a Defence.

For more information on what you can do if a default judgment has been entered against you, see Applying to set aside default judgment.

Step 2: Che​ck the date the Statement of Claim was filed

You must be served with a copy of a Statement of Claim with the court seal (stamp) on it within six months of the date that it was filed at the court.

Hint icon  A document with a court stamp on it is called a 'sealed copy'.

Alert Icon   The plaintiff has six years to start a debt or goods case against you in the Local Court. You should get legal adviceif you think it might be more than six years since the debt was first owed or was last acknowledged or it has been more than six years since the plaintiff demanded that you return the goods.

Step 3: Read over the particulars of the claim

There may not be much information in the Statement of Claim. If you need more information to help you work out what the claim is about and whether you owe the money you can write to the plaintiff.

For more information, see Further and better particulars - after being served with a Statement of Claim​.

Step 4: Get​ a Defence form

You need one form:

  • Form 7B Defence - filing party acting in person or by authorised officer.

You can get copies of forms from:

Alert Icon  If you are representing yourself you should get Form 7B Defence - filing party acting in person or by authorised officer. If you are represented by a lawyer, your lawyer will fill out form 7A Defence - filing party legally represented.

Step 5: Fill o​ut and sign the form

You can fill out the Defence form in neat handwriting in blue or black pen. You can also fill it out on your computer screen. For instructions on how to do this, go to the Guide to Completing Approved Forms.

To fill in the Defence form you will need to have the following information ready:

  • the location of the court and the case number (you will find this on the Statement of Claim)
  • the name of the plaintiff (you will find this on the Statement of Claim)
  • dates and events relevant to the claim made by the plaintiff
  • your address, telephone, fax and email details.

Your Defence must explain why you disagree with the claim. You should reply to each claim made on the Statement of Claim. You should also raise anything else that explains why you do not owe money or the goods claimed. You may want to get legal advice about the wording of your Defence.

For more information, see

Go​ods

For more information, see

Car ac​cidents

For more information, see

Hint icon   Have a copy of the Statement of Claim with you when completing the Defence form.

When you have finished filling out the Defence form you need to sign it and then make two copies. If there is more than one plaintiff or more than one defendant, you need to make an extra copy for each extra plaintiff or defendant.

Step 6: File the​ Defence form

The Defence form and the copies must be filed at the court where the Statement of Claim was issued. There is no filing fee for the Defence.

You can either attend the court in person to file the Defence or you can post it to the court. The address of the court will be on the Statement of Claim.

The court staff will stamp the original Defence and the copies. The court will send a copy of the Defence to the plaintiff (and any other plaintiffs and defendants, if there is more than one). A sealed copy of the Defence will be given or sent to you.            ​

Alert Icon   If you want to move the case to another court closer to you, you need to get permission from the court. You can do this when you file your Defence. For more information, see Moving the case to another court within NSW.

Step 7:​ Note the date the case is listed before the court

When the court gives or sends you back a sealed copy of the Defence, it will also provide a Notice of Listing. This is a letter with the date and time that you and the plaintiff will need to attend court for a Pre Trial Review. The court will also send a copy of your Defence to the plaintiff.

Alert Icon  For more information, see