​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 |

Settling the case - Defendant

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

If you "settle the case" this means that the case is ended by agreement with the other party rather than by a decision of the court.

You can contact the other party and try to settle the case at any time. For more information on negotiating with the other party, see Negotiation.

    ​​ Alert Icon You should get legal advice before settling your case to make sure that the settlement ends the claim against you and doesn't affect your credit rating.

    Settlement - things to think about

    You should think about how much you can offer and if you can pay in a lump sum or by instalments, or if you can return or all or any of the goods.

    If it is a debt, you should also think about:

    • whether all or part of the debt will be repaid
    • whether the debt will be repaid in instalments or as a lump sum
    • when will the debt be repaid
    • how will the debt be repaid (for example, by bank cheque, electronic funds transfer or cash)
    • whether there will be an agreement about the payment of legal costs (for example, will the defendant pay the plaintiff's costs of filing and serving the Statement of Claim or will each party pay their own legal costs)
    • whether there will be an agreement about the payment of interest
    • what will happen if the full amount or the instalments are not paid by the agreed date
    • will the settlement also settle any Cross Claim
    • will the settlement be a judgment of the court (and therefore appear on the defendant's credit reference record).

      If it is a claim for goods, you should also think about  

    • what conditions the goods are in
    • whether you want to keep any or all of the goods, and pay money instead
    • whether the amount of money being claimed for compensation for the value of the goods or for damages is reasonable
    • will the settlement be a judgment of the court (and therefore appear on the defendant's credit reference record).

    Settlement discussions

    Discussions about settling the case can happen at the court on the day of the Pre Trial Review or the hearing. Written or spoken settlement discussions can also take place at other times away from the court.

    Alert Icon   If you decide to try and settle the case, make sure that all your letters, emails or faxes to the other party about settlement have the words 'Without Prejudice' written at the top. This means that your offers to settle can't be used against you in a court hearing if the case does not settle.

    Alert Icon  If the other party has a lawyer, it's usually better to speak to the lawyer rather than directly to the other party.

    Finalising a settlement - consent judgment

    If the plaintiff and defendant are able to agree on a settlement, you both need to make sure that your court case is finalised. This is usually done by a consent judgment. This means that the terms of your agreement becomes an order of the court and has the same effect as a judgment of the court after a hearing of a case.

    Alert Icon  You should get legal advice about your settlement agreement and whether a consent judgment is an appropriate way to finalise your case.

    Alert Icon  Information about court judgments is collected by credit reference agencies. A defendant may want to have a settlement agreement that protects their credit reference record. You should get legal advice about this.

    A consent judgment can be made in two ways:

    • giving a hand written or typed copy of the settlement agreement signed by both parties (often called Terms of Settlement) to the registrar, assessor or magistrate at the Pre Trial Review or the Hearing, or
    • filing a form called a Consent Judgment at the court registry.

    There is no set form for Terms of Settlement. They are usually handwritten at court after discussions between the parties. The Terms of Settlement need to set out what has been agreed to finalise the claim. It should say if legal costs and interest will be paid. It should also state when any payments are to be made and what will happen if an agreed payment is not made .

    For more information, see

    If you are not at court when you reach an agreement to settle the case and you want your agreement to become a court order, you can file a form called a Consent Judgment to finalise the case. By doing this you can avoid further visits to court. Both the plaintiff and defendant must sign the Consent Judgment form.

    For more information, see Consent Judgment - Step by step guide.

    Discontinuing a case

    In some circumstances, a plaintiff may decide to withdraw their claim from the court. This is called discontinuing a case.

    Situations where a plaintiff might decide to discontinue a case include:

    • the defendant has paid an agreed amount to the plaintiff to settle the case
    • the plaintiff decides that their claim is mistaken
    • the plaintiff decides that their claim has been made against the wrong person.

    If a plaintiff decides to discontinue their claim, they can do this by filing a Notice of Discontinuance.

    The Notice of Discontinuance needs to be signed by the defendant to show that they agree with the discontinuance. A defendant is likely to want the Notice of Discontinuance to deal with the payment of court fees and legal costs.

    Alert Icon  A defendant should get legal advice about a settlement that involves the plaintiff discontinuing a case, as the plaintiff may be able to make another claim in the future.

    If the defendant will not sign the Notice of Discontinuance, the plaintiff can ask the court at the Pre Trial Review or the hearing for permission to discontinue their claim.

    For more information about settling the case, see Settling the case - Frequently Asked Questions.