If you are owed money by someone and you haven’t managed to recover the debt or agreed to a compromise, you may need to resolve the issue in court. It is important that you try to resolve your dispute with the other party before going to court as filing a claim to recover your debt in court will cost you further time, money and energy.
If you have issued several reminders to pay, then the next step should be to serve the debtor with a letter of demand. This letter should set out the amount of the debt, what the debt relates to (for example, a description of the services provided to the debtor at their request during a time period) and when the amount should be paid. It should also set out that you will consider initiating legal action if the debt is not repaid by a certain date.
The monetary amount of your claim will determine the court jurisdiction. For example, if your claim is under $20,000, then you can make a claim in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court. If your claim is between $20,000 and up to $100,000, then you can make a claim in the General Division of the Local Court. For claims greater than $100,000, then your claim is in the District Court or Supreme Court.
You will need to file a debt recovery claim in contract within six (6) years from the date the debt became due and payable (or the last repayment on the debt was made) whichever is the later date. In cases of debts arising out of deeds, it is twelve (12) years.
Making a Claim
A document called a Statement of Claim will need to be filed in the relevant Court. If a defence is filed, you will need to include evidence to support your claim including any copies of contracts, invoices, receipts, statements, letters of demand and witness accounts. You can include interest on the debt from the date the debt was owed, filing and service fees and legal costs. The Statement of Claim will need to be personally served on the debtor and they will have 28 days in which to respond to your claim.
You’ll find that the team at Conditsis Lawyers is here to assist you with all your debt recovery needs. Call us on (02) 4324 5688