Do you believe you have been wronged, and that the matter relates to money you are owed not being paid? Then you could consider lodging a court claim to retrieve it. Small claims are ‘civil’ matters; they do not relate to any criminal matters, or any money owed in relation to a family matter (e.g., divorce), or insolvency.

If you lodge a claim, you will be called the ‘claimant’; the person who is defending against your claim is called the ‘defendant’.

There are certain things you need to be sure of before you can lodge a claim. For example, if someone is temporarily protected from creditors you cannot lodge a claim. You should check this before doing anything else.

You may also want to consider mediation. Mediation is a process whereby both the creditor and the person who owes the money communicate with the help of a neutral third party, called a Mediator. Mediators should be professionals who have plenty of experience in their field, and you should check this before you engage their services.

Mediation is a non-legal process, driven by the parties, in order to come to an arrangement outside of court. For this reason, mediation does not involve a Judge; any agreement reached is purely the result of negotiations by the two parties.

If you think mediation is not right for you, or you have tried mediation and it has failed, and your claim is eligible, you can lodge a claim with the County Court to attempt to recover your money through the standard legal process.

The journey from making a claim to seeing it through to the judgement at the end can be tough. Do make sure you have properly considered whether it is worth lodging a small claim before you go ahead with it, and whether you need the help of a lawyer.

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