A notice of intention to sue should be given to the debtor before making a claim in court.  Otherwise, the costs of filing the claim will not be recoverable.  The notice can be given in the form of a Final Notice of Claim (Form 1A) or a Letter of Demand.  The recipient has 21 days to respond to your notice, in which time the recipient may:

  • pay the money that you claim you are owed
  • negotiate with you to come to an arrangement
  • ask to go to mediation (only if a Final Notice of Claim was issued)
  • ignore the notice

If the other debtor agrees to pay the money or you are able to negotiate an agreement, you will not need to take further action in court.  If the other party does not want to pay, you have the option to proceed to mediation if both parties agree to attend. See Mediation for more information.

It is important that you wait 21 days before making a formal claim. If you don’t wait 21 days and your claim is eventually successful, you may not be able to recover your costs from the other party.

Final Notice of Claim

You can purchase the final notice document online at https://online.courts.sa.gov.au or at the registry of any Magistrates Court in South Australia.  You cannot do this over the phone and pay by credit card. 

You can view the fees for commencement of actions, and note that the fee might increase as of 1 July each year. You may be able to recover the cost of the notice from the other party if:

  • an agreement is not reached after sending the notice, and
  • you commence formal legal action, and
  • your legal action is successful

You will need to have some details prepared before you can complete the final notice form. You will need to know:

  • the name and address of the other party
  • the amount of money that you believe you are owed
  • the reason why you say you are owed the money

If the other party is a company, you will need to have the correct name and registered office address of the company. If you don’t know these details, you can contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as they have details of all registered Australian companies. You can call them on 1300 300 630 or search the ASIC website at www.asic.gov.au.

If the other party is a business you will need the name of the owner of the business, the correct business name and the business address. If you don’t know these details, you can contact Consumer and Business Services and they will be able to help you. You can call them on 131 882 or visit their website.

If you have any problems filling out the form, contact the court contact centre on +61 8 8204 2444 or email them at enquiry@courts.sa.gov.au.

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You can send the debtor a Letter of Demand in lieu of a Final Notice of Claim.  A letter of demand is a notice in writing asking the debtor to pay the money owed within 21 days before you file a claim in court.

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Sending the notice

The Final Notice of Claim or Letter of Demand must be delivered to the other party. This is known as ‘serving’ the notice. You can give it to them personally or you can send it by mail.  It does not have to be sent by registered mail, regular post will do.  The 21 day of the notice commences from when the post office is likely to deliver the letter containing the notice.

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