Being owed money, no matter whether a small or large sum, can have a negative impact on your life, finances and wellbeing. Stacks have specialist small claims legal experts throughout NSW who can advise and assist you with making your claim.
If somebody owes you a sum of money that you are trying to recoup, Stacks Law Firm understands that it may not be considered a 'small' sum of money to you, and may have an significant impact on your life and finances. You’ll no doubt wish to recoup the money that’s owed to you quickly and efficiently, with minimal cost.
On this page, you’ll find information about the process of lodging and pursuing a small claim.
What is a “small claim”?
A small claim involves a claim or debt of $20,000 or less. All small claims cases in NSW are dealt with through the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), and cases which end up in court are heard in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court.
Most small claims cases can and should be settled without the need for a court case. This is often a simpler, more cost effective and more amicable resolution for both parties involved. (For more information, please see our articles How do you make a small claim in NSW? and How to commence legal proceedings in NSW.)
Your first point of call should be to send a letter of demand to the person who owes you money. If your request is refused or disputed by the person, then you may need to take further action by taking the matter to court. There may also be other instances where the case may need to go to court, or you may need to seek legal advice.
When you should consider professional legal advice
There are some small claims cases which are more complicated than others and professional legal advice may be needed. According to Law Access NSW, these situations include claims which involve:
- A personal loan or a credit card from a bank or financial institution
- A home loan
- The rental of a house or apartment
- A dispute about goods or services you bought from a business
If someone is chasing you for money
If you owe someone a sum of money under $10,000, then the first thing you may receive is a letter from the person or a Statement of Claim. You have a number of options in terms of how to respond. You can negotiate directly with the plaintiff in order to settle the case out of court. Alternatively, you can deny the debt and file a defence, which may lead to a pre-trial and then a hearing with a magistrate, in which the court may order you to pay the original debt.
The Law Access NSW website has a helpful series of flowcharts which clearly outline the processes involved in different stages of a small claims case.
Do you have questions, or do you believe that your case requires legal advice or representation? Stacks may be able to help. Contact our team today