If you accept the applicant’s claim
If you accept the applicant’s claim, you can resolve the matter by paying the applicant the amount or doing what they asked of you in their claim including paying any costs. Do not send money to Court.
If you accept that you owe the full amount claimed but cannot afford to pay the amount in full, you can try to arrange instalment payments with the applicant. You can use an Enforceable Payment Agreement (EPA) where in return for you acknowledging the debt and making payments, the applicant agrees not to report the debt to credit referencing agencies. These are also available at any Court Registry. You should keep a record of any payments made.
If you take no action
If you take no action within 28 days, the applicant may apply for a default judgment against you. A court judgment against you may affect your credit rating.
If you agree there is an amount owed but disagree with the amount or something else claimed
If you agree there is an amount or something else owed but disagree with the amount or something else claimed, try to negotiate with the applicant. If the applicant agrees, you may be able to use a mediation service.
If you accept that you owe some of the amount or something else claimed, you could pay or do part of what they ask to reduce the amount in dispute or scope of the dispute.
Regardless of whether you mediate or pay or do part of what is sought, if you wish to defend the claim you must you still file a defence within 28 days of being served with a claim.
You can file a Form 121 Formal Offer. Note that if you pay in full there is no need to file an offer.
If you wish to defend the claim
If you wish to defend the claim you must file a defence.
You must do this within 28 calendar days of being served with a claim within Australia or 30 business days if you are served with a claim outside Australia.
If you wish to defend a short form statement of claim
To defend a short form Statement of Claim use Form 51S Defence Details – lodged or uploaded with Defence Shell and put your responses in the relevant sections as appropriate. Alternatively, put your response in Part 2.
For more information on defending a short form statement of claim refer to the Rules.