Minor Case Claims in the Magistrates Court

Minor Case Claims in the Magistrates Court

A common query in civil matters is what is a minor case claim in WA? The short answer is a claim where the value does not exceed $10,000.

The court’s objective when dealing with a minor case claim is to bring the parties to an acceptable settlement. All proceedings are held in private unless the Court orders otherwise, although relatives and friends may be present at the trial proceeding unless the Court orders otherwise.

Further, there is a presumption against the parties having lawyers in court, unless all parties agree, or the Court is satisfied that none of the parties will be unfairly disadvantaged as a result. This approach is intended to keep costs down as much as possible.

Claims must be lodged online through the eCourts portal and there will be a filing fee payable on lodgement, which varies depending upon the person/entity lodging it. A common filing mistake is the claimant failing to correctly identify the legal entities involved eg a company or partnership rather than an individual. It is important to get these basic details correct to avoid delays in the court process, or worst case, having a claim struck-out altogether.

Once filed, the claim will then need to be ‘served’ on the other party or parties. That can be done by the bailiff (which is organised by the court) although it does not have to be. Once served, the other party or parties have 14 days (if service is within Western Australia or 21 days if service is within another State or Territory of Australia) to respond. You cannot do anything until the defendant’s time to respond has expired. What happens next will depend on how the defendant responds to the claim.

Finally, if you have read this far and think that you need some practical advice or assistance in relation to your matter, then now is probably the time to get in touch. Austral Legal can help and we offer an initial discounted 30-minute SmartMove appointment for $80 by phone or in person at our office. Bookings can be made online through our website or simply by phoning our office on 08 9745 9550. Once we have a handle on what is required, we may well be able to offer a fixed fee for any further legal services, giving you cost certainty from the start. Austral Legal. Practical advice.