This article serves as a straightforward guide to what is involved in starting litigation and the processes you and your lawyer will need to go through, as well as some of the decisions that will need to be made.

How to prepare your case

Initially, you and your lawyer will want discuss your matter and its particulars in detail. This is traditionally done in person, but the LegalVision approach allows us to do this on the phone or over video conference. After you and your lawyer have had an interview, he or she will be in much better position to advise you on your matter.

At this point, your lawyer will consider two things in particular. These include:

  • The Cause of Action, which refers to whether you actually have a case under existing law. In other words, based on the facts you have discussed with your lawyer, and the information that can be collected later, do you have claim, or a ‘Cause of Action’?
  • The relevant jurisdiction – When starting litigation, your lawyer must determine which Court will hear and determine the matter. This is important to decide, as certain courts hear certain claims, and, if the matter is a civil claim, have their own monetary limits.

How to start proceedings

One thing to keep in mind when starting litigation is that each court has its own set of rules with different procedures for starting litigation. The procedure used sometimes depends on the type of proceeding, i.e. what kind of matter is being heard. The required document by the Courts for commencing proceedings and starting litigation is a statement of claim. The combination of the statement of claim, the ‘defence’ (your response to the statement of claim), and various other documents, such as the cross-claim, are known as the pleadings.

What is a Statement of Claim?

Out of all the different documents and forms of ‘originating process’ involved in starting litigation and commencing proceedings, a Statement of Claim is the most common. When the claimed amount is known, a statement of liquidated claim will be used. In these cases, the Court will not need to make additional enquiries and you will not need to submit further evidence as to the amount being claimed. In debt matters, for example, a statement of liquidated claim might be used, whereas matters involving claims for damages in a tortious claim (a personal injury matter) may require the submission of a regular Statement of Claim. This is because, to determine the amount of damages, if any, the Court needs to hear the evidence being submitted

What now?

Following the filing of the originating process, depending on the Court, the relevant Court rules will set a time for specific steps to be carried out by the defendant. In most cases and jurisdictions, the Court will award default judgment to the plaintiff if and when the defendant fails to answer the allegations (carrying out the prescribed steps). If you’re the defendant in a matter and you don’t know how to carry out these steps and respond to the allegations, consult a lawyer immediately.


Starting litigation and commencing proceedings is a big step and should only be done as a last resort after attempts to resolve the matter by alternative means have failed. For assistance with starting litigation and commencing proceedings against another party, contact LegalVision on 1300 544 755 and take advantage of an obligation-free consultation with one of our experienced client care team.

COVID-19 Business Survey
LegalVision is conducting a survey on the impact of COVID-19 for businesses across Australia. The survey takes 2 minutes to complete and all responses are anonymous. We would appreciate your input. Take the survey now.

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.

The majority of our clients are LVConnect members. By becoming a member, you can stay ahead of legal issues while staying on top of costs. For just $199 per month, membership unlocks unlimited lawyer consultations, faster turnaround times, free legal templates and members-only discounts.

Learn more about LVConnect

Lachlan McKnight
Need Legal Help? Get a Free Fixed-Fee Quote

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Our Awards
  • 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn 2019 Top 25 Startups - LinkedIn
  • 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards 2019 NewLaw Firm of the Year - Australian Law Awards
  • 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500 2020 Fastest Growing Law Firm - Financial Times APAC 500
  • 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review 2020 AFR Fast 100 List - Australian Financial Review
  • 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards 2020 Law Firm of the Year Finalist - Australasian Law Awards
  • Most Innovative Law Firm - 2019 Australasian Lawyer 2019 Most Innovative Firm - Australasian Lawyer
Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at

View Privacy Policy