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If you want to start a court case to get your money back, you will need to fill out a statement of claim form and file it in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court. To find out how to do this, follow the steps in the guide on this page.
Before deciding if you want to start a court case, you should get
legal advice about the strength of your claim.
You have six years to start court proceedings to recover money. If you are not sure when your time limit starts from, get
You need one form:
Form 3B – Statement of claim.
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:
In the statement of claim form, you are called the 'plaintiff' and the other party is called the 'defendant'.
To fill in the form you should have the following information ready:
It is very important that you make your claim against the right person or business, that you use the right name and you have the correct address. You will waste time and money if you make the claim against the wrong person or business as your claim may be dismissed or the judgment might not be enforceable. For further information, see
Finding and naming the defendant.
You can also claim interest if the amount of your claim is $1,000 or more. For information on interest, see Working out interest.
Once you have completed the details in the form, you will need to sign the form. If you are signing the statement of claim form for a company or other organisation, you will also need to write down why you are allowed to sign on the company's behalf. For example, you may be the 'Director' or 'Authorised Officer' of the company.
Instructions and samples
Sample statement of claim – debt
Sample statement of claim - interstate service (if the defendant is outside NSW).
The next step is to file the form at your nearest Local Court.
You can file the form:
You will need to file the original statement of claim plus one copy. The court will keep the original and will give you back the stamped copy. You will need to make one copy for each of the defendants and a copy for yourself.
You can also complete and file these forms online using the
NSW Online Registry.
If you are nearly out of time to start a case it is a good idea to file your statement of claim in person or online to avoid the possibility of your form getting lost in the post.
Pay the filing fee
You will need to pay a filing fee. The filing fees are (as at 1 July 2021):
If you want the court to serve the statement of claim on the defendant, you will need to pay an additional fee at the time of filing the form.
You can check the list of current court fees on the
Local Courts website.
You can pay by cash, credit card, EFTPOS or cheque. If you are paying by cheque it should be made payable to NSW Local Courts.
If you can't afford the filing fee
If you can't afford the filing fee you can ask the court to:
If you want to ask the court to postpone or waive the filing fee you will need to fill in an
Application to postpone, waive or remit fees.
You should attach copies of documents that support your application, such as Centrelink letters, payslips, bank statements, tax returns and evidence of debts you owe. You can take or mail the application form with attachments to the court when you file your statement of claim.
The court will 'seal' the form
The court staff will stamp, date and put a file number on the statement of claim form and the copy. A document with a court stamp is called a 'sealed copy'.
The court will keep the original and return the sealed copy to you.
Once you have filed the statement of claim, it needs to be served on the defendant. 'Serving' the statement of claim form means giving or sending a sealed copy of the form to the defendant. There are rules about how to properly serve the statement of claim.
For more information, see Serving the statement of claim - Step by step guide.