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When the defendant receives the statement of claim, they will need to decide how to respond. There are a number of things the defendant may do, including:
Remember to change your address with the court if you move after you have filed your statement of claim. You should also let the defendant know your updated address. You will need to file Form 76- Notice of change of address for service.
If the defendant pays the total amount in the statement of claim form or returns the goods claimed, and pays the interest, filing fee and legal fees, they can file a notice of payment form with the court.
If you receive payment in full or the goods claimed, you should file a notice of discontinuance to end the case. For more information, see Stopping your case.
If the court does not receive any documents from you or the defendant, nine months after the statement of claim was filed, the court will dismiss your claim and your case will be closed. If you still want to recover money from the defendant you will need to start a new case and pay the court fees again. Time limits apply.
If the defendant only pays part of the money claimed, or returns some but not all of the goods and does nothing else, you can apply for default judgment for the part that they didn't pay or the goods they did not return (see 'Do nothing' below).
An acknowledgment of liquidated claim is a form that tells the court the defendant agrees they owe you the money you sought in your statement of claim.
If an acknowledgment of liquidated claim is filed, the court will automatically give judgment in your favour for the amount of money in your statement of claim form and any costs and interest.
The defendant may make an application to pay by instalments if they cannot pay the money in one lump sum. For more information, see Being paid in instalments.
If the defendant does not pay the amount owing or an instalment, you can take enforcement action. For more information, see Enforcement.
The defendant may ask for more information from you before deciding how they are going to answer your claim. This is known as asking for further and better particulars.
There is no set form for this. The defendant can write you a letter asking you to provide this information.
If you do not respond to the defendant's request for further and better particulars, they can ask the court to order you to.
The defendant might ask you to stop all action while you reply to the request. If you are not sure what to do, you should get legal advice. If you go ahead and get default judgment, the defendant may ask for the default judgment to be set aside.
This may delay the case. If you think the defendant is asking for information that is irrelevant or unreasonable, or you do not have the information requested, you should seek legal advice.
Sample: Sample response to a request for further and better particulars.
The defendant might contact you to try to negotiate about your claim. They might make an offer to settle the case for less than what you have asked for or something different.
You should think carefully about any offer to settle and if you are unsure get legal advice.
For more information, see Settling your case.
A defence is a form completed by the defendant and filed at the court. The defence states that the defendant does not agree that they owe you all, or part, of what you have claimed and the reasons why.
When the court receives the defence, they will send you a copy. You will also receive a notice telling you the date and time when you have to attend court for a pre-trial review.
It is important to read the defence carefully so you know why the defendant disagrees with your claim.
You should get legal advice about the strength of your case and whether you should consider settling your case when you receive the defence.
A cross-claim is where the defendant files a claim against you because they say you should pay them money or give them goods.
If you receive a cross-claim you have the same options to respond as those listed on this page including admitting the claim or filing a defence.
For more information, see Cross-claims.
If the defendant filed an application to change the venue, you will receive a copy of the notice of motion and affidavit from the court.
If you do not want the venue to be changed, you must file an affidavit within 14 days. Your affidavit must include reasons why the venue should not be changed.
The court will decide if the case should continue to be heard in the original court or moved to a different court.
The court will notify the parties of its decision. If the court decides to move the case to a different court, the matter will be listed at the new venue. If the court does not move the case to a different court, the matter will be heard at the same venue.
The court will not move the case to another court if the other court is less than 100km from the court where the statement of claim was filed, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
If the defendant ignores your statement of claim, you have the option of applying for default judgment.
You need to wait 28 days from the date you served the statement of claim on the defendant.
For more information see Default judgment.