Department of Justice is now the Department of Communities and Justice. Find out more >
If you disagree with the claim, you can file a defence form with the court.
You must do this within 28 days of being served with the statement of claim otherwise the plaintiff can get judgment against you.
If you want to file a defence, follow the steps in the guide on this page. If you are not sure whether you should file a defence you should get
If the claim is about a consumer credit debt, such as a bank loan, credit card or car loan, you should consider External Dispute Resolution (EDR). There are lots of benefits of trying to resolve the dispute through EDR, rather than through court. For more information, see
External Dispute Resolution.
When was the statement of claim 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. If it is served more than six months after it was filed, you should get
There is a six year time limit on recovering a debt in most cases. If it has been more than six years since the debt was first owed, or you last made a payment, or acknowledged the debt in writing, you may have a defence to the claim. You should get
The time limit for filing a defence 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 a 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 the statement of claim was served on you by post by the Local Court, you should contact the court to find out what day they say it was served. If 28 days has passed, ask the court 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 there is a default judgment against you, see
Setting aside a default judgment.
You need one form:
Form 7B - Defence - filing party acting in person or by authorised officer.
You can get copies of the form from:
You can also complete and file this form online using the
NSW Online Registry.
You can fill out your form:
To fill in the form you will need the following information:
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 the money or the goods claimed.
If you are unsure about the wording in your defence, you should get
Have a copy of the statement of claim with you when completing the form.
Sign the form after filling it out and make one copy.
The form and the copy must be filed at the court where the statement of claim was filed. There is no filing fee.
You can file the form:
If you are getting close to the end of the 28 days it may be safer to file your defence in person to avoid the risk of your form getting lost or delayed in the post.
The court staff will stamp the original and give you back the stamped copy. The court will send one copy to the plaintiff and any other plaintiffs and defendants, if there is more than one.
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 a different court.
After you have filed your form, the court will send you a notice of listing. This is a letter with the date and time that you and the plaintiff will need to go to court for your first court appearance. This is called a pre-trial review.
For more information, see
During the case.