​Making a claim is when you begin formal legal action against the other party. You make a claim after you have tried the other methods (Final Notice / Letter of Demand, Pre-Action Meeting) to recover money you believe is owed to you but haven’t been successful. The claim is firstly lodged with the court and then served on the other party. Parties to a civil matter are referred to as Applicants and Respondents.

Lodging a claim

To commence a case you will be required to lodge a claim electronically via the online CourtSA portal.

For information about types of claims, lodging a claim and supporting documentation required as well as other information please visit the CourtSA Help Centre.

Once you have completed the online document it will be saved into your CourtSA account under the  'Documents' Tab. The document is given a 'CIV' number which will create the formal court file.

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Where to lodge a claim

All claims are lodged electronically via the online CourtSA  portal. You will be required to select a location of where you would like your first hearing to be held. It will be necessary to choose a court location as close to where the claim arose or where the respondent(s) lives. For example if, the dispute were over a car accident, you would choose the courthouse nearest to the other party involved in the accident or the court nearest to where the accident occured.

To find out the nearest Magistrates Court, contact the court’s call centre (08) 8204 2444 or check the Magistrates Court Localities Directory.

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Initiating a claim will require payment and can be made by credit card via the online CourtSA portal. You can view the 'fees' for commencement of actions on the fees page of the website. The fee you pay is added to the amount you are claiming from the respondent. If you are successful with your claim, you are entitled to get that money back from the respondent. It does not matter if the fee takes your total over the maximum claim amount for the minor civil jurisdiction. The fee is regarded as ‘costs’, which is separate to the amount you are claiming is owed to you.

If you want the repondent to pay your lodging fee in the event you are successful with your claim, you must make sure that you have served your final notice or letter of demand to the other party for at least 21 days before you lodge your claim.

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Required information

To fill out the claim form you will need to know:

  • the amount that you want to claim
  • the correct name and address of the respondent
  • the date(s) of the dispute
  • the reason that you believe you are owed 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, contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as they have details of all registered Australian companies.

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, contact Consumer and Business Services and they should be able to assist. 

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Serving a claim

Once payment is finalised and approved the documents will be made available to you and it will be your responsibility to notify and serve all required parties with the claim unless otherwise chosen. You can choose your preferred method of service at the time of lodging the initial case via the online CourtSA portal.

There are three ways to serve a claim on the respondent:

  1. Party - The Applicant serves the documents by way of post, email or in person.
  2. Legal Representative - serves the documents on behalf of their client (the applicant).
  3. Sheriff  service - A fee is required per person to be served.

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Costs to serve a claim

It does not cost you anything for you to serve the claim on the respondent by post or email.

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Service of a claim by a Sheriff’s Officer

If you would like a sheriff’s officer to serve the claim, there will be a fee involved, payment is processed at the time of completing the initial case via the online CourtSA portal.

Please visit the CourtSA Help Centre for further assistance on lodging a claim via the CourtSA online portal.

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