Please note that new Uniform Civil Court Rules 2020 for legal proceedings in the Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts of South Australia are scheduled to commence on 18 May 2020. The information in this chapter is still based on the rules that apply prior to the commencement of the new civil rules, but will be updated on or about 18 May 2020 to reflect the new rules.
The information in this section is aimed at debtors owing debts of no more than $12,000 (which is the limit for claims in the Civil (Minor Claims) Division of the Magistrates Court of South Australia as of 1 August 2016).
The information is largely reproduced (with permission) from the booklet Going to Court for a Debt? by UnitingCommunities.
If you owe a debt to a subcontractor or supplier in the building and construction industry, then you may be facing a claim under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 - for further information see Debts in the Building and Construction Industry.
If your debt relates to certain farm debts incurred through your work as a farmer, see Debts in the Farming Industry for more information.
Many of us go through a time when we genuinely cannot afford to repay money we owe. However, if you are being pursued for a debt which you believe you do not owe, you should question the debt without delay (see 'Disputing a debt').
If your problem relates to a house repossession or mortgage arrears, you should get advice from the Legal Helpline on 1300 366 424 or a financial counsellor as soon as possible. It is far better to deal with the problem quickly.
If you are the director of a company, and the debt is owed by your company to the judgment creditor, unless you have given a personal guarantee, you are not liable to pay the debt. This is so even if the company cannot pay or has no money.