Possible responses from the defendant

  1. No response
  2. Admission of the claim
  3. Denial of liability
  4. Counter claim

1. No response

If the defendant does not respond within 21 days, you can apply for judgment to be signed in your favour without the need for a court hearing. To do this complete a Request to Registrar (Form 18) and file it with the court with proof that a Minor Civil Claim (Form 3) has been served on the debtor, and that you have waited at least 21 days for a reply.

This judgment can be set aside if the defendant can show they did not receive the claim. This is why it is important to find out the defendant’s correct address, and, if there is any doubt about the address, to have a Sheriff’s Officer serve the claim or serve it personally yourself.

2. Admission of the claim

If the defendant admits the claim and agrees to pay, make sure you negotiate a specific final date for payment. If the defendant does not pay by the agreed date, follow the process set out above for having judgment signed, and then apply for an investigation hearing.

The defendant can admit liability for all or part of the debt owed by filing an Enforceable Payment Agreement (Form 1B) with the court. If the defendant only admits part of the debt and you aren’t satisfied with that, you can continue with the action. However, you may have to pay the defendant’s costs if the court awards you no more than what the defendant paid into the Court.

3. Denial of liability

  • The defendant has 21 days to file a defence from the time a claim is served.
  • A defendant has to complete a Defence (Form 4) and file it at the Magistrates Court Registry.
  • A copy of the defence will either be sent to you by the Court or by the defendant.

4. Counter claim

  • If the defendant thinks they have a claim against you, the plaintiff, they can complete and file a counterclaim. This is a Form 5 from the Magistrates Court.
  • The Counterclaim (Form 5) needs to be filed with the Defence (Form 4), and, if for any reason your claim does not proceed or is dismissed, the counterclaim can still continue as a separate action.
  • If you have a counterclaim filed against you, the Court assumes you are defending it therefore you do not need to file a separate defence.
Possible responses from the defendant  :  Last Revised: Fri Oct 12th 2012
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.
Link to sa.gov.au - find what you're looking for

© Legal Services Commission - All Rights Reserved
Funded with the support of the Governments of Australia and South Australia Website by CeRDI