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Possible responses from the defendant

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

  1. No response
  2. Admission of the claim
  3. Denial of liability
  4. Cross claim

No response

If the respondent does not respond within 28 days, you can apply for default judgment to be signed without the need for a court hearing. To do this, you must complete a Form 76B - Application to Registrar-Sign Judgment and file it with the court with proof that a Form 1 or 1S Claim has been served on the debtor, and that you have waited at least 28 days for a response.

This judgment can be set aside if the respondent can show they did not receive the claim. This is why it is important to find out the respondent's correct address, and, if there is any doubt about the address, to have a Sheriff's Officer serve the claim or for the applicant to serve it personally on the respondent.

Admission of the claim

If the respondent admits the claim and agrees to pay or act, the parties should to negotiate a specific final date for payment or action. If the respondent does not pay or act by the agreed date, follow the process set out above for having judgment signed against the respondent, and then apply to enforce the judgment by issuing an investigation hearing using a Form 141- Application to Enforce Judgment.

The respondent can admit liability for all or part of a debt owed. If the respondent only admits part of the debt owed, and this is not satisfactory, you can continue with the action. However, the applicant may have to pay the respondent's costs if the court awards no more than what the respondent paid into the Court.

A respondent can admit liability for a debt by filing an Enforceable Payment Agreement (Form P2) document with the Court.

Denial of liability - Defence

  • The respondent has 28 days to file a defence from the time a claim is served.
  • A respondent has to complete a Form 51 or 51S. If the Defence is filed in person at the Magistrates Court registry, the respondent should file a Form 51 with a Form 51S attached. If the respondent is filing the Defence online the respondent should use the Form 51S only [r 334.1]
  • A Defence must identify any part of the applicants claim that is agreed
  • A copy of the defence will need to be served (sent or given) to the applicant.
  • If your documents were filed online, you will receive notification of the filing of a defence, or any other documents the respondent lodges.

Cross Claim (including a counter claim)

  • If the respondent thinks they have a claim against you, they can complete and file a counterclaim. This is a Form 61 or 61S. The respondent must also pay a filing fee.
  • The cross claim needs to be filed with the defence, and, if for any reason the applicants claim does not proceed or is dismissed, the respondents cross claim can still continue as a separate action.
  • If a cross claim is filed, the court will assume you are going to defend it and does not require a defence to be filed unless ordered. [r 334.2 (7)]
Possible responses from the defendant  :  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.