According to our litigation lawyers, if you have been served with a Claim for a matter brought before the Queensland Supreme Court, you have the following options available to you:

  1. Perform the claim as set out in the relevant section (e.g. pay the amount set out, or return a particular item); or
  2. Dispute the claim.

If you intend to perform the claim, contact the Plaintiff and inform them of your decision as soon as possible.

If you intend to dispute the claim, you can do so by filing a Defence.

Defence

In order to file a defence you must complete:

  1. Form 6 – Notice of Intention to Defend; and
  2. Form 17 – Defence; or
  3. Form 18 – Defence and Counter Claim.

Counter Claims are explained further below.

Irrespective of whether you intend to only file a Defence or file both a Defence and Cross Claim, you will need to complete one of these and file it with the completed Notice of Intention to Defend. This must be done within 28 days of the day you were served with the Claim.

Our litigation lawyers tell us that the forms must be filed in the registry where the Claim was filed.

Note that although you may technically file the defence at any time before judgment is given regarding the Claim, if you file after the 28-day period, you run the risk of having a default judgment and/ or cost orders filed against you.

Counter Claim

A Counter Claim is a claim that you have against the Plaintiff. For example, if you believe the Plaintiff actually owes you money rather than the other way around.

Service

After filing the Defence (i.e. a Form 6 and a Form 17/ Form 18), you will need to serve it. Service is the process of formally delivering documents to the other party to a claim.

Response to Counter Claim

Once your Defence has been filed, the Plaintiff must, if they intend to do so, respond to your Counter Claim by filing and serving their response within 14 days. If, however, the Counter Claim involves a new party, that new party must be given 28 days to respond.

From our litigation lawyers’ experience, this counter claim and response process can occur a number of times. This is because parties can ask each other for additional information, clarification on certain points, and consequently raise new claims as more information is provided.

If you need to obtain information from a 3rd party who is not a party to the proceedings (for example, bank transaction records from a financial institution), you will need to complete a Form 21 – Notice of Non-Party Disclosure.

Going to Trial

Once everything is finalised, you and the Plaintiff must then sign off a Form 48 – Request for Trial Date. As your matter is in the Supreme Court, before signing off a Form 48, you or your litigation lawyer will need to fill out and sign the Annexure to the Practice Direction Number 9 of 2010. This includes the requirement that there have been considerations to settle the matter, and a “Trial Plan” has been set out between the parties.

Once this form is filed, the Court will set a date for a hearing.

Conclusion

When you are served with a claim, it can be very intimidating. If you intend to defend the matter, or you simply would like some advice, feel free to give us a call on 1300 544 755 and one of our litigation lawyers assist you.

Emma Jervis

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