Going to court for a civil case

All parties in civil cases are encouraged to try and reach an agreement without needing to go to court. Community Justice Centres provide free mediation to help people in dispute reach agreements.

Most civil cases do not have a hearing or need parties to attend court.

Where a defence to a Statement of Claim is filed, the case is listed before the court. What occurs after the defence is filed depends on the division the case will be heard in.

If you want to lodge a defence but a default judgment has been entered, you can apply to have the default judgment set aside. This is done by filing a notice of motion. You should get advice about your defence and what to include in the notice of motion.

Small Claims Division

After a defence is filed, the case is listed for a pre-trial review before a registrar, assessor or magistrate. The pre-trial review is to help the parties reach an agreement without the need for a hearing.

If agreement cannot be reached, the court will make orders for witness statements to be filed and will list the case for a small claims hearing.

Witnesses do not attend a small claims hearing, unless a magistrate decides otherwise. The assessor or magistrate will read the witness statements and make a decision in the case.

Find more information from this Community Justice Centre fact sheet – Small Claims.

General Division

After a defence is filed, the case is listed for a call-over set case management orders. The parties may be ordered to do certain things or to file documents. If the case is not settled, it will be listed for a hearing. Witnesses will attend and give evidence.

A magistrate will hear the witnesses and make a decision in the case.

Settling a civil case

Parties that reach an agreement in their case can file orders with the court. Find more information about settling civil cases.

Read more about solving the problem without going to court in Alternative dispute resolution.

Last updated:

12 May 2020

We acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we work and we pay respect to the Elders, past, present and future.
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