We have specialised in Magistrates Court cases for over 20 years.
Our practice is located outside of the Perth CBD and because of this our hourly rates are 20% lower than the standard rates charged by most Perth law firms. Our rates are extremely competitive compared to the rates charged by other commercial law firms.
The Magistrates Court deal with civil cases that involve:
- General Procedure claims for debt or damages up to $75,000
- Minor Case Claims for debt or damages up to $10,000
- Consumer/Trader Minor Case Claim where the matter concerns the sale, supply or hire of goods or services up to $10,000
- Consumer/Trader General Procedure claim where the matter concerns the sale, supply or hire of goods or services up to $75,000
- Claims for the recovery of ‘real property’ up to a gross annual rental of $75,000.
Parties to the action:
Claimant: the party making the claim. It may be an individual person, a partnership, public authority, corporation or association who is owed money for a debt or has suffered damages, or a consumer or trader who commences the case.
Defendant: the party against whom the claim is made. This may be an individual person, a partnership, public authority, corporation or association, or a consumer or trader.
To commence an action the Claimant completes and lodges either a:
i. Form 3 for a General Procedure Claim; or
ii. Form 4 for a Minor Case Claim; or
iii. Form 5 for a Claim for the recovery of ‘real property’; or
iv. Form 6 for a Consumer / Trader minor case claim; or
v. Form 7 for a Consumer / Trader general procedure claim
at any court registry within the State. However, any party can make an application to the court for a change of venue. If the court is satisfied that a change of venue is necessary it may order accordingly.
Process involved in a Consumer / Trader Claim
1. After lodging a Form 6 or 7 the court will then list the case for a listing conference and serve the other party with a copy of the claim via post.
2. Court may then grant the following orders or remedies:
* order the refund of money
* order compensation to be paid
* make a work order
* order payment of relief from payment
* award the cost of having work performed by another contractor; or
* order the return or replacement of goods.
3. If a person disobeys an order then a party can apply for an enforcement of order under the Civil Judgments Enforcement Act 2004.
Process involved in a General Procedure Claim / Minor Case Claim
1. Once the Claimant has lodged either a Form 3 or Form 4 the Defendant then has a period of time (normally 14 days) from the date it is served in which to respond. Nothing can be done until the Defendant’s time to respond has expired. Within the 14 days the Defendant can choose to either:
a. Admit the full amount of the claim – if this is done then the Claimant will receive a ‘notice of admission of claim’ from the court with details of any offer by the Defendant to pay in full or by instalments. If the Claimant accepts the offer it should contact the Defendant and confirm acceptance and provide details of where and how payments should be made. The Claimant does not have to accept this offer. Payment must be made to either the Claimant or the Claimant’s lawyer, not to the court. The court does not need to be notified of payment however it is recommended that a formal discontinuance of the claim be filed with the court.
b. Admit part of the claim – complete a ‘notice of admission of claim’ for the amount admitted and then file a Notice of Intention to Defend for the remaining amount of the claim.
c. File a Notice of Intention to Defend.
d. Ignore the claim
The Claimant may chose to lodge a Statement of Claim Form 19 with the General Procedure Claim which is a document detailing in full your claim against the Defendant. If the Defendant is served with a Statement of Claim with the General Procedure Claim then the Defendant must also file a Statement of Defence in response within 14 days of being served.
2. If the Defendant defends any part of the claim then the Claimant must within 14 days of being served with the Notice of Intention to Defend, request that the Registrar lists the action for a pre-trial conference. The Claimant must complete and lodge a Form 28 and pay the prescribed fee. The Registrar will set the date time and place of the pre-trial conference.
A pre-trial conference is held to assist the parties in reaching a settlement. Either party may make an offer or offers. All parties must attend. If one party does not attend default judgment may be given against the party.
If settlement is reached, the registrar will draw up a memorandum of consent orders for each party to sign. It outlines the agreement that has been reached by the parties and the orders made by the court.
The order becomes a judgment of the court and can be enforced by the successful party. In order to enforce an order the party applying must lodge a Form 6 with the prescribed application fee.
All matters discussed at the pre-trial conference are confidential.
If no settlement is reached then the registrar will make orders for:
* the Claimant to file its Statement of Claim
* the Defendant to file its Statement of Defence
* the parties to provide discovery of documentation relevant to the court action; and
* the date on which the case will be scheduled for a listing conference.
3. Once the Defendant has received the Statement of Claim it then has 14 days in which to file its Statement of Defence. If the Defendant wishes to Counterclaim against the Claimant or make a third party claim this must be lodged with the Defendant’s Statement of Defence.
4. If the Defendant does not file its Statement of Defence the Claimant may make an application for the court to give default judgment against the Defendant (Form 13).
5. Listing Conferences are held in order to list the case for trial. The parties must lodge and serve on each other not less than seven working days prior to the conference a pre-listing conference memorandum by completing and lodging a Form 32.
6. Trial - the Claimant will begin by making an opening address outlining its claim. Evidence in support of the claim is then given, witnesses are called and documents are tendered as exhibits. The Defendant may then cross examine the Claimant’s witnesses. Thereafter the Defendant will proceed with their defence to the Claimant’s claim.
Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.