​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 |

Responding to a Statement of Claim

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

​If a creditor believes you owe money and have not paid, they may start a court case against you. The creditor will start the case by filing a document called a Statement of Claim. A Statement of Claim is a court document that sets out how much the plaintiff claims you owe them and why they are making the claim. You will be sent or given a copy of the Statement of Claim.

Claims of less than $10 000 are made in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court. The information in this site is on the procedures in the Small Claims Division only.

After the creditor starts a court case against you, they will be known as the 'plaintiff' and you will be known as the 'defendant'.

Alert Icon When you get a Statement of Claim it is important to get legal advice and act quickly. You have 28 days to take action. For more information, see Time limits.

Alert Icon If you change your mailing address after receiving a Statement of Claim you should let the court and the plaintiff know. For more information, see Change of address for service.

After you have received the Statement of Claim you have a number of options. ​

    ​Here is some more information about these options:

    Ask for more information (request for further and better particulars)

    Sometimes a Statement of Claim will refer to dates, events or conversations that you don't recognise or remember. It may refer to documents that you are not sure if you have seen or received. It may have few or no details about the debt or car accident. Without this information it may be hard to work out if you do owe money or how much you owe. It will also be hard to prepare your Defence form if you decide to defend the claim.

    You can write to the plaintiff and ask them for more information. This is known as 'a request for further and better particulars'.

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

    Negotiate with the plaintiff

    You could try to negotiate directly with the plaintiff. The plaintiff may agree to withdraw (discontinue) the court claim if you pay all or part of the debt or come to an agreement about payment by instalments. For more information, see Payment by instalments - Debtor.

    If the plaintiff agrees to discontinue the case you should ask them for a copy of the Notice of Discontinuance. For the steps you should take if you are able to reach an agreement with the plaintiff, see Settling the case.

    Pay the amount claimed

    If you agree that you owe the plaintiff all the money claimed you have two options:

    • File a Notice of Payment
    • File an Acknowledgment of Liquidated Claim.

    File a Notice of Payment

    If you want to pay the full amount owed, including interest and costs claimed, you can do this and then file a Notice of Payment. The Notice of Payment tells the creditor and the court that the debt has been paid. The court will then stay (stop) all action in the case.

    You will need one form:

    • Form 34: Notice of Payment

    You can get copies of forms from:

    File an Acknowledgment of Liquidated Claim

    If you agree that you owe the amount claimed, but you cannot pay the full amount, you can file an Acknowledgment of Liquidated Claim and at the same time file an application to pay by instalments. For a guide to this process see Payment by instalments - Step by step guide.

    If you agree that you owe the debt, it will be very difficult for you to get out of paying the interest, fees and costs unless the plaintiff is willing to negotiate.

    You will need one form:

    • Form 35: Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim

    You can get copies of forms from:

    For help completing this form, see Instructions for filling out an Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim and Sample Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim.

    After you have filed the Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim form, judgment will be made against you for the whole of the amount of the claim. Once there is a judgment against you, the plaintiff can take action to enforce the debt. For more information about enforcement, see After the case.

    Alert IconIt is a good idea to file the Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim form with the court within 28 days of being served with the Statement of Claim. If you file the Acknowledgement of Liquidated Claim form within 28 days, you are likely to pay less legal costs. 

    File a Defence

    You can defend a Statement of Claim if you believe you don't owe all or part of the money claimed or are not fully at fault for the accident.

    To defend the claim you must file a document called a Defence. A Defence states that you deny owing all or part of the money claimed and sets out the reasons why. These reasons are called the grounds of your defence.

    Alert IconYou should get legal advice before deciding to defend a claim. You need to consider how strong your defence is, what evidence you have to support your side of the case, and what the costs will be if you win or lose the case.

    For more information, see Gathering evidence and Legal costs.

    Alert IconYou must file the Defence at the same court where the Statement of Claim was issued within 28 days of being served with the Statement of Claim, otherwise the creditor can apply for default judgment against you.

    For more information, see Filing a Defence - Step by step guide, Instructions for filling out a Defence, Sample Defence 1 and Sample Defence 2.

    Car iconIf the claim against you is about a car accident and you want to file a defence, see Instructions for filling out a Defence - Car Accidents, Sample Defence 1 - Car Accidents and Sample Defence 2 - Car Accidents.

    Car iconFor help setting out the facts and the details you want to rely on in your defence, see Pleadings and particulars used in car accident claims​.

    File a Cross Claim

    If you believe that the plaintiff in fact owes you money or was at fault for the car accident you may be able to file a Cross Claim. Alternatively, you may argue in your Defence that you should not have to pay the plaintiff money for their claim because they owe you money. This is called a 'set off'.

    For more information, see Cross Claims.

    Alert IconBefore filing a Cross Claim you should get legal advice as it can make the case more complicated and lead to higher costs.

    Do nothing

    If you do nothing and choose to ignore the Statement of Claim, the plaintiff may get default judgment against you without you attending court or being notified. A default judgment may be recorded against your credit rating and this may affect your ability to get a loan, mortgage or credit in the future. You can apply to the court to have a default judgment set aside. For more information, see Applying to set aside default judgment.

    Once there is a judgment against you, the plaintiff can take action to enforce the judgment. For more information about enforcement, see After the case.

    For further information, see Responding to a Statement of Claim - Frequently Asked Questions.

    Picture writ for levy of property document