If you have applied for a default judgment for goods and you are seeking payment for their value (rather than the goods back), you may need to attend an assessment hearing at court.
If the court decides to hold an assessment hearing, you will be sent a listing notice telling you when and where you have to go to court.
If you are unsure what to do at the assessment hearing, you should get legal advice.
To find out how to prepare for an assessment hearing, follow the steps in the guide on this page.
You will need to prepare evidence that will show the value of the goods you are claiming.
When you filed your application for default judgment, you should have included in your affidavit in support, evidence about the value of the goods.
If you believe there is more information that you could provide, you should prepare a written statement or affidavit form. The court will give directions on how to file your evidence.
Depending on the type of goods and how they came into your possession, you could include information in your statement or affidavit about:
If you are unable to find second hand goods of a similar type, you should get legal advice.
For some types of goods (for example if they are rare) you may be able to get an expert to give an affidavit about the value of the goods, and how they were valued. Before getting an expert witness to write and sign an affidavit, you should get legal advice. There are special rules for using expert witnesses.
Some examples of documents that you could provide to support your claim include:
You should attach these supporting documents to your statement or affidavit as 'annexures', and refer to them.
For more information on statements or affidavits, see Affidavits, statements and statutory declarations in the Legal Skills topic of Representing Yourself.
File your statement or affidavit with the court
The court may make orders about filing your statement or affidavit and evidence, including when to file them. If you are not sure when you have to file them, it's a good idea to file them as soon as possible or contact the court.
Plan what you are going to say in court
You could use the following format:
Remember that before the hearing the assessor or magistrate will have read the documents you have filed so you don't need to repeat everything that is in your statement or affidavit.
You should make sure you get to the court at least 30 minutes before the time for your case in the Notice of Listing. When you arrive you should:
Be prepared to wait some time as other cases may be dealt with before yours. If you wait outside the courtroom make sure you are close enough to the courtroom to hear if your case is called.
The magistrate or assessor may adjourn (close) the courtroom for morning tea, usually around 11:30am, or for lunch, usually from 1:00pm to 2:00pm. You will have to leave the court room during these breaks.
If you are running late, you should call the court registry to let them know. The court may dismiss your claim if you are not in the courtroom at the time the case is listed.
Remember to turn off your mobile phone before going into the courtroom.
The defendant will not usually attend an assessment hearing where a default judgment has been awarded.
The magistrate or assessor may ask you to present your case. You should briefly:
You can speak from prepared notes. This can be helpful if you are nervous.
The magistrate or assessor may ask you some questions or ask you to explain some things in more detail. The magistrate or assessor may also ask you to move on to another point if they feel you have said enough about a certain issue or that you are speaking about something that is not relevant to the case.
The magistrate or assessor will often give their decision straight after the hearing, or after a short break. They will give reasons for their decision. They can also include a costs order against the defendant, if a lawyer is representing you at the assessment hearing.
Once you know how much money for the value of the goods you can claim from the defendant, you can enforce the judgment. For more information, see Enforcement.