How to Bring a Minor Civil Claim

Public news

Bringing a minor civil claim is a cost effective way to attempt to recover a debt or to claim damages done against your business. In order for a minor civil claim to be made the claim must less than $12,000.

The time limit for bringing a minor claim is 6 years from when the loss was suffered.

Minor civil claims in the magistrates court include:

  • Where damage has been done to you property (e.g. vehicle or land)
  • Where you have not been paid for work you have done
  • Where you have loaned money to someone and they have not paid it back.

  • Before making a claim, you should try to resolve the matter by speaking to the other party directly. A claim should only be made when you have exhausted other options.

    In order to initiate a small claim a form 3 must be filled out and filed. This can be accessed on the Courts SA website by clicking here.

    The current cost of filing a form 3 is set at $146.

    What must be included in this form is:

  • The names and address of the parties
  • The type of claim being sought (e.g. debt)
  • The amount being claimed, including if you wish to recover the cost of filing the claim
  • The particulars of the claim and what you are seeking from the court
  • Affidavit for proof of service

  • When you are stating the particulars of your claim ensure that you are being as clear and concise as possible in regards to what you are claiming. Where you are claiming a number of different debt amounts, state what each amount being sought is and what it is for.

    Where you and your employees have properly followed your legal obligations and industry practice and ensured that you have kept adequate written records, your chances in being successful in a minor civil claim will be greatly improved.

    In order to file a minor civil claim, it can either be done in person by going to the Magistrates Court or be done online by using the courts website by clicking here.

    The claim must be served on the other party. This can be done in a number of ways as outlined on the affidavit for proof of service with the most common and easiest means being by sending it via registered post.

    If the matter is not resolved prior to hearing then there will be additional fees associated with attendance and any witness costs. It is possible to recover this amount where you have been successful in your small claim, but this is not definite and it is always preferable to attempt to have the matter resolved before hearing if possible.

    In most cases legal representation is not required or allowed for a small claim. It is however still possible and it is best to seek advice prior to hearing and in the preparation of brining your claim.

    Should you require assistance with making a small claim please contact the MTA’s Workplace Relations team by clicking here or by calling 8291 2000.