Applying to recover your money
process server The process server's main job is to deliver or “serve” legal documents to a defendant or person involved in a court case affidavit of service an important document provided by the person serving the document after they have successfully served documents to someone. This affidavit is signed by the server and details the time, date, manner of service, identity of the person served and other details of the job. If a party in the case claims to not have been notified of pending legal action, the affidavit of service can be presented to prove otherwise.
If you have a money dispute, the process to recover that money through the Civil Court starts with one person filing a claim with the courts.
At this point the process is the same for both types of claim.
1. File a claim or minor civil claim
- Complete the Claim form and Notice to Defendant (DOCX, 19.3 KB).
- Your Claim Form must set out the facts and circumstances that you are going to rely on in your case - clearly and in as much detail as possible.
- The Claim form is also available from:
- File your original completed Claim form and three copies at a Court Registry. The Registry will keep one and return three copies to you.
- Pay the filing fee.
Important: You must correctly identify the party.
- Use the registered name and ABN or ACN for registered companies and businesses.
- The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has a list of registered companies and business names.
2. Notify the other party
The other ‘party’ in the claim is called the defendant.
You must serve the claim on the defendant by following these steps:
- Step 1 - serve the completed Claim and Notice to Defendant on the defendant. You can do this either:
- in person (either you or someone else who is over the age of 18 years)
- by registered post
This is available from post offices. Ask for a lodgement receipt and delivery confirmation receipt and keep both receipts as they must be attached to the affidavit of service or
- by engaging a process server (check the Yellow Pages)
- Further information regarding service is available on our fact sheet
- Step 2 - wait 21 days from the date of serving the defendant with your claim. Then return to the Court Registry with:
- your copy of the claim form and
- the completed affidavit of service.
- Step 3 - you can now ask the Court Registry what the defendant has chosen to do. They might:
- pay the claim
- offer a settlement
- lodge a defence and maybe a counter-claim
- ignore it.
If your claim involves more than one defendant, then you must serve a copy of the Claim and Notice to Defendant on each defendant.
If you have served the claim by registered post, attach the signed confirmation slip and postal receipt to your affidavit.
What happens next will depend on how the defendant responds to the claim.