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If you have filed a statement of claim with the Local Court, you will need to serve it on the defendant. You must serve a stamped copy of the statement of claim on the defendant within six months of the date you filed it at court. To find out how to do this, follow the steps in the guide on this page.
You should make sure that the statement of claim is served properly and at the correct address. If it is not served properly, it will cost you time and money. For more information on how to find the defendant, see Finding and naming the defendant.
There are a number of different people who can serve the statement of claim.
The Local Court will charge you a fee of $45.00 (as at 1 July 2021) per defendant for each address that it is posted to.
A private process server can serve a statement of claim for around $30.00 to $80.00.
If you win the case, you can claim back a maximum of $70.00 (as at 1 July 2021) from the defendant. To check the current court fees, go to the
Local Courts website.
You can search for process servers in the
Different rules apply to serving a statement of claim:
To serve a statement of claim on a defendant that is an individual you can:
To serve a statement of claim on a defendant that is a company you can:
For more information on how to find the registered office of a company, see
Finding and naming the defendant.
To serve a statement of claim on a business operating under a business name you can:
To serve a statement of claim on a defendant that is a partnership you can:
If the defendant is in a state other than NSW you must still serve them with the statement of claim. You will need to add an extra section to your statement of claim called 'Service in Australia but Outside NSW'. You also need to add a notice to the end of the statement of claim.
Sample: Statement of claim - interstate service
Sometimes you might not able to serve a defendant in any of the ways set out in the court rules. For example, a statement of claim served by post may be returned to sender, or when you try personal service the defendant may have moved house.
If this happens, you could ask the court to make orders for substituted service. This means that the court gives permission for you to give the defendant the statement of claim in some other way.
There is no set process in the Small Claims Division to ask the court to make orders for substituted service. You can write a letter to the court explaining that you want to ask the court to make orders about substituted service and enclose an affidavit. The affidavit should:
For more information, see:
Sample: Letter – substituted service
Sample: Affidavit – application for substituted service.
If you are having difficulty serving the defendant, you should get
For service by post on an individual, a company, a business operating under a business name or a partnership, the date of service is the seventh working day after it was posted.
If your statement of claim form was posted by the court, you can call the court to find out the date it was posted.
You will need one form:
You can get a copy of the form from:
You can file the affidavit of service online using the
NSW Online Registry.
If you arranged for someone else to serve the statement of claim for you, such as a process server, they will give you a completed affidavit of service form. An affidavit of service is not required if you have paid the local court to post the statement of claim to the defendant.
The person who served the statement of claim needs to fill out an affidavit of service form and sign it in front of a solicitor or a justice of the peace (JP).
The affidavit of service describes how and when the statement of claim was served and is evidence for the court that the statement of claim was served.
Instructions for filling out an Affidavit of serviceSample: Affidavit of service
After you have served the statement of claim, the defendant may either:
If the defendant is going to file a defence, they should do this within 28 days of being served with the statement of claim. The court will send you a copy of the defence and a notice of when to go to court. For more information, see
The defendant's response.
If 28 days have passed and you have not received anything from the court or the defendant hasn't contacted you, you may apply to the court for an order giving you judgment. This is called 'default judgment'.
For more information, see