If the debtor does not pay the debt or try to negotiate within 21 days of being served with a Final Notice of Claim (Form 1A) or letter of demand you can begin formal legal action. You must allow the debtor 21 day to respond before initiating any court action otherwise you will not be able to claim any costs if you win.
Fill out a Minor Civil Claim (Form 3), which you can get from the Registry or from the Magistrates Court website online (click here) and lodge it with the Registry. You will need four copies of the Claim. A fee is required to lodge the form.
Serve the claim on the defendant:
- The court can post the claim for you – there is no fee for this and it is the most usual way of serving the claim.
- If there is some doubt about whether the debtor is at the address on the claim, you can deliver the claim personally or have a Sheriff’s Officer serve the claim for you. To have a Sheriff’s Officer serve the claim for you, you will have to pay a fee.
- If you serve the claim yourself, you must attach a multilingual notice (Form 17).
- After serving the claim you must also fill out and file with the Registry the proof of service form (on the back of one of the copies of the claim form), explaining how you served the claim.
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.