Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
There is a limit on the value of a plaintiff's claim depending on which court they go to. This topic is about cases in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court which deals with claims for $20,000 or less. However, this amount does not include any additional expenses that the plaintiff can claim such as interest.
This page has information on what the plaintiff may claim in the statement of claim.
Under the heading pleadings and particulars on the statement of claim, the plaintiff will set out the reasons for their claim.
If the claim is about a car accident, see Example pleadings and particulars – car accidents.
Damages usually means compensation for loss suffered. In the relief part of the statement of claim, the plaintiff can ask for a sum of money that you should pay them to cover their loss. For example, a plaintiff might claim $4,000 in damages for the cost of repairing a car after an accident.
The interest included on the statement of claim form is called 'pre-judgment interest'. The plaintiff can only claim pre-judgment interest from you if the amount of the original claim is $1,000 or more.
There are two kinds of pre-judgment interest:
The plaintiff can claim pre-judgment interest from the date they say the money should have been paid up to the date when they filed their statement of claim. You can check the rates of pre-judgment interest on the Local Court website.
The plaintiff will have to pay a fee to file a statement of claim, and there may also be fees for serving the statement of claim on you.
The plaintiff can claim these costs back from you in their statement of claim. You can find a list of current court fees and court interest rates on the Local Court website.
If the plaintiff is represented by a lawyer, and you lose the case, you will probably have to pay costs.
Costs can also be awarded against a party if they do anything that causes a delay.
In the Small Claims Division of the Local Court there is a limit on the amount of lawyer's costs you can be ordered to pay. The maximum amount of costs can vary depending on:
Costs are not capped for matters commenced by an owners corporation for unpaid strata levies.
The maximum amount of legal costs that can be awarded before a judgment, including the preparation costs for the claim (other than a case started by the owners corporation for unpaid strata levies):
Amount of Claim
Maximum costs (excluding GST)
If the lawyer helped them and the proceedings ended with the court giving a judgment after a hearing, the maximum amount of legal costs that can be awarded are as follows (including the preparation costs for the claim):
If you, or the plaintiff, do not accept a genuine offer to settle a dispute and the refusal was not reasonable, the court can increase the maximum amount of legal costs for giving a judgment after a hearing by 25%.
The Court also has power to award indemnity costs if one party had no real chance of success or if they delayed the matter in Court. Indemnity costs means that the party must all other party's costs.