A date for a Defence Call-Over is usually allocated by the General Division of the Local Court of New South Wales when a Defendant has filed a Defence to a Statement of Claim. The Court will inform the parties of the first Defence Call-Over date.
At the Defence Call-Over, the Court will hear the matter and should make directions or orders to assist with the speeding resolution of the proceedings and deal with any matters in dispute between the parties.
Directions and orders made by the Court may include filing of pleadings or amended pleadings, allocate date for return of subpoena, refer the matter to mediation or arbitration, allocate a review date, refer the matter to the Magistrate for hearing on expert evidence, set a timetable for evidence, date for filing of a Statement of Agreed Facts and Issues and a Hearing or Trial date.
If a Hearing or Trial date is not allocated, the Local Court will likely list the matter for a Second Call-Over, Directions Hearing or Review. At this stage, the Court will determine whether orders have been complied with, and fix a date for Hearing.
If the parties are still unable to agree on setting the matter for Hearing, the Court will list the matter for Directions Hearing or Review before a Magistrate of the Local Court. At the Directions Hearing or Review, the Magistrate may give directions for the speedy resolution of outstanding issues and press for the matter to be listed for Hearing.
Debt Recovery – General Division Local Court
When you’re owed money and your debtor fails to pay you back, the first step you need to do is to issue a letter of demand to advise your debtor about the outstanding debt and when it should be paid. The letter is usually more effective if it comes from a law firm, as this shows your debtor that you’re serious about collecting the debt.
If your debtor refuses to repay the debt after receiving the letter of demand, it’s time to take legal action.
FILING YOUR CLAIM – STATEMENT OF CLAIM
In New South Wales, the General Division of the Local Court has jurisdiction to handle claims that are between $10,000 and $100,000. Even though you’re not required to hire a lawyer to file a claim at the Local Court, it’s best that you get legal assistance if you’re not familiar with the rules and procedures.
The first step to making your claim is to file a Statement of Claim at the Court Registry of the General Division of the Local Court. The Statement of Claim should contain the details of your claim, including the amount of the debt and documents that support your claim such as copies of invoices.
Once you’ve filed the Statement of Claim, the statement will need to be served on the debtor who is the defendant in the claim. This gives the debtor a chance to file a defence or make a cross-claim. If no defence is filed after 28 days, you can apply for Default Judgement.
THE DEFENCE CALL OVER
Once the defendant files a Defence to the Statement of Claim, the matter is listed for a defence call over. The parties involved in the claim appear in front of a Registrar for the call over. You can appear in person or hire a lawyer to appear on your behalf.
During the call over, the Registrar determines if the claim is ready to go to the hearing and gives all parties directions. Some common directions include:
● the filing of additional pleadings;
● the filing of additional evidence; and
● referring both parties to arbitration or mediation.
Either party can file a Notice of Motion during the proceeding to request additional information or proper conduct from the other party. The Court reviews the affidavit and evidence provided and determines if an order should be granted.
A second call over may be required if a trial date isn’t set in the first one. During the second call over, the Court will determine if the previous directions have been complied with and if so, whether both parties are ready to proceed to trial.
There can be multiple call overs before a claim is ready to proceed to the hearing, which usually occurs before a Court appointed Magistrate.
Generally, if you’re the plaintiff of the case and the ruling is in your favour, the debtor will not only have to pay you the amount they owe you, but they also have to pay you a portion of your legal costs.
If your claim is less than $20,000, you may be awarded up to 25% of the legal costs plus court fees. If your claim is more than $20,000, you may be awarded up to 60% of the legal costs.