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Starting proceedings in the Magistrates Court

New Uniform Civil Rules 2020 for legal proceedings in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts of South Australia commenced on 18 May 2020.

If the debtor does not pay the debt or try to negotiate within 21 days of being served with a Final Notice (Form P1) or pre-action notice (letter of demand) you can begin formal legal action. You will not be able to claim your costs if you do not allow the debtor 21 days to respond.

Step 1:

Complete a Claim (Form 1), which you can get at the online portal CourtSA Civil or the court registry.

A claim must be accompanied by a statement of claim, which may either be [r 333.1(3) and r 63.1 (5)]:

  • a short form statement of claim contained within a claim; or
  • a claim and a separate longer form statement of claim complying with Chapter 7 Part 7 of the Uniform Civil Rules 2020.

A Statement of Claim uploaded with a Claim is a Form 1S.

Information required on claim form

You as the creditor will be called the applicant. The debtor is called the respondent. The names and addresses of both of the parties must be filled in and at the bottom of the form under the heading 'Statement of Claim' the applicant must provide details of what the claim is about.

A debt claim can be very brief, and if it is a under $12,000 you can enter the details straight into the online form (less than 100 words).

Remember that you will need the respondent’s address and other contact information. If the respondent is a company, you need to do a search on the Australian Securities and Investments database for a current company search to obtain details of the registered office. Claims against companies must be served on the registered office in accordance with section 109X of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).

Step 2:

Serve the claim on the respondent debtor:

  • You can request that the Sheriff serves the document on the debtor for a fee. The Sheriff will also file an affidavit of service for you once it is served personally.
  • You can also send the claim by express post. Remember to keep a copy of the lodgement receipt and delivery confirmation.
  • You can also email the document if you have been communicating with the debtor and you are sure that the debtor regularly checks their email. You must also have a street address for the debtor, so you cannot only rely on email to serve a claim if you do not have an address.
  • If you serve the claim yourself, you must attach a multilingual notice (Form 31).
  • After serving the claim you must also file an affidavit of service (Form 42). You will need to exhibit documents to prove how you served the documents.
Starting proceedings in the Magistrates Court  :  Last Revised: Tue May 19th 2020
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.