​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 |

Frequently Asked Questions​

Making a claim

1. What goods can I recover?​ 

You can use the information in this topic to recover personal property like: 

  • cars
  • jewellery
  • pets
  • furniture. 

There are special laws about recovering some goods, for example: 

  • ​goods left behind by a tenant in a rented property
  • goods held by your spouse or partner after a marriage or de facto relationship has ended.

You should get legal advice for getting goods back in these situations. 

For more information, see Types of goods​.

2. How can I get my goods back? 

You have a number of options to try to get your goods back. You can try:

  • negotiation

  • mediation through Community Justice Centres (CJC).

You can send a letter of demand. 

If you have sent a letter of demand and you have not got your goods back, you may wish to decide whether to start a case in court. The Local Court can: 

  • make an order that goods be returned to you, or
  • if your goods have been sold or destroyed, make an order that you be paid for the value of the goods. 

For more information, see Making a claim.

3. Will the police help me get back a laptop I lent to a friend? 

It is unlikely that the police will be able to help you if you let your friend have the laptop, even if it was only for a limited period of time. 

AlertIf you are not sure if goods are stolen you should get legal advice. If the police will not help, you may be able to take steps to recover the goods yourself. 

For more information, see Making a claim. 

4. What evidence will I need to show that I own a painting that is at my friend's house? He says it is his. 

You should think about what evidence you have which shows that you own the painting. Evidence could be: 

  • ​a receipt
  • other records of payment for example, electronic
  • payment
  • insurance documents mentioning the painting
  • photographs of the painting in your home or with you.

For more information, see Making a claim.

5. I want to send a letter of demand to a friend to get him to return my furniture. He has moved house and I do not have his new address. What can I do? 

You do not have to send a letter of demand through the post. You could send it by email, SMS or by private message through social media (for example, Facebook) or other messaging services. Make sure you keep a record of how you sent it, and when. 

You will need to know his address if you want to make a claim in a court. For more information, see Letter of demand – goods. 

6. I want to get my things back from my ex-partner but she has applied for an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against me which says I can't contact her. How can I get my things back? 

AlertIf there is an AVO against you that says you cannot contact your ex-partner, you may be charged with a criminal offence if you do. You should get legal advice​ before trying to get your things back. 

If there is an interim, but not a final AVO against you, you may be able to ask the court for a Property Recovery Order the next time your case is in court. 

For more information about Property Recovery Orders and Apprehended Violence Orders, see the AVOs topic in the Representing Yourself section of this website.

AlertYou should also get legal advice if you think you are entitled to the property under family law.  

7. How much will it cost me to start a court case to get my goods back? Is it worth it? 

The total cost of a court case will depend on the outcome. You will have to pay a filing fee to start your case, and a fee to have the statement of claim served. If you win your case you may be able to get these fees back. 

If you have a lawyer, and you win, you may get some of your legal costs back from the other party. If you lose and the other party has a lawyer, you may have to pay some of their legal costs. 

There are also costs that you may have to pay to enforce a judgment. For more information, see Legal costs

It may not be worth starting a court case, depending on the value of the goods. If the goods only have sentimental value, and have been lost or destroyed so that they can't be recovered, it may not be worth starting a court case for the money value of the goods. 

For more information, see Going to court​. 

Responding to a claim

1. My friend left his TV with me when he went overseas. He is now back from overseas and wants his TV. Do I have to give it back? 

Your friend may be able to get his TV back. It will depend on: 

  • ​whether he gave it to you or lent it to you
  • when the TV should have been returned.

For more information, see Responding to a claim​.

You could try to negotiate or arrange mediation with your friend. For more information, see Resolving your dispute 

Your friend can start a case in the Local Court to get his TV back. The court may make an order that you return the TV or pay for the value of the TV. If you receive a statement of claim, you have 28 days to respond. You should get legal advice​. 

2. My flatmate moved out and left some books behind. She wants her books back but I don't have them anymore. What can I do? 

You should try talking to them about the situation. You can try free mediation through Community Justice Centres (CJC). If you're finding it hard to talk to them you can send her a letter explaining why you no longer have the books. 

For more information, see Responding to a claim and Resolving your dispute​. 

If she starts a court case against you, and you no longer have the books, she can ask for money equal to the second hand value of the books. If she wins the case, the court will decide how much the books are worth based on any evidence provided, and how much you should pay her. 

3. My sister and I bought a car together but the car was only registered in my name. I took the car with me when I moved out of our parent's home. Now she wants the car back. Do I have to give her the car? 

If your sister wants the car back, she needs to prove that she is the owner of the car. You need to consider what evidence you have about who owns the car, for example, the registration documents, the receipt, bank statements and evidence of what you and your sister agreed to when the car was purchased. Even if the car is only registered in your name, it may legally belong to both of you.  

For more information, see Responding to a claim​.

If there is a dispute about who owns the car, you should get legal advice