Are you owed money from goods or services that you provided in Tasmania? If so, you can enforce payment and recover the money. For amounts less than $5,000, the debt recovery process is relatively straightforward. This article will outline what steps you will need to follow.
Step 1: Send a Letter of Demand
You should first send the debtor, the person owing you money, first and second reminder letters. This may assist you in preserving your business relationship. If, however, you still cannot recover the money owed, you will more than likely send a Letter of Demand to the debtor outlining details of the debt including on what basis the money is owed and the amount outstanding;
- A date by which the debtor must pay; and
- A warning that if the debtor does not pay the money within the specified time, you will commence legal proceedings to recover the debt.
Upon receiving the Letter of Demand, the Defendant may either:
- Pay the money and settle the matter,
- Dispute the matter, or
- Ignore the letter.
Step 2: File a Minor Claim Form
If the matter is still unsettled after you have sent a Letter of Demand, you can commence legal proceedings to recover the money. You will need to fill in a minor claim form, and lodge it at the closest Registry along with three copies of the claim and the original.
Step 3: Serve the Defendant
You will then ‘serve’ the Defendant by providing them with a copy of the claim by:
- Personally delivering the claim to the Defendant,
- Arranging for a process server to deliver the claim, or
- The Court can arrange for service on your behalf.
Step 4: Wait for the Defendant’s Response
Within 21 days following service, the Defendant will need to consider how to respond by either paying the amount and settling the matter or filing a defence.
If the Defendant files a defence, you will receive a copy and the Court will set a date for a directions hearing. However, if the Defendant fails to respond to the claim, you can apply for a default judgment in your favour.
Step 5: Settling the Matter Before the Hearing
If you settle the matter before the hearing, you must notify the Registrar in writing that you wish to withdraw your claim. You could also apply to the Court to make a Consent Order to enforce the terms of your settlement.
Step 6: Attend the Directions Hearing
The directions hearing takes place before a final hearing. At the directions hearing, the Magistrate will ask both parties questions about the situation and try to facilitate a settlement. If no settlement is reached, then the Magistrate will set a date for a hearing or mediation.
Step 7: Attend the Hearing
The Magistrate will then give both parties an opportunity to present their case and supporting evidence. Once you and the debtor (defendant) present your arguments, the Magistrate will decide the case.
LegalVision has a team of great litigation and dispute resolution lawyers who can assist you. Should you have any questions about debt recovery or how you can enforce a payment in Tasmania, please get in touch with us 1300 544 755.