If you receive a small claim

This page has information for people who receive a small claim.

You have 28 days to decide what to do if a person, also called a creditor or plaintiff, makes a small claim against you.

You can do one of the following:

  • offer to pay the claim
  • admit or offer to pay part of the claim
  • decide to defend the claim
  • agree to settle the claim – this is usually done at the pre-hearing conference organised by the court.

You can find the documents you need on the statement on claim.

If you don’t file any of these documents within 28 days, the plaintiff can ask the court to decide what should happen to the claim without going to court, called a default judgment. 

You may choose to get advice from Consumer of Affairs, or get legal advice.

If you decide to pay the whole claim

This is called settling the claim, and ends the court proceedings.

You can either:

  • pay the full amount
  • ask to pay the full amount over a longer period of time - the plaintiff will decide whether to agree to this
  • or ask to pay the claim in instalments - the plaintiff will decide whether to agree to this.

If you offer to pay the amount over a longer period of time, or pay instalments you can withdraw your offer at any time before the plaintiff accepts it.

To pay, you must: 

  • pay the plaintiff directly.
  • or complete the order to pay form and give it to the court - the court can take instalments on behalf of the plaintiff.

If you pay the plaintiff directly, you must get a signed receipt from them and give it to the court. If you don’t do this, the claim will remain open. 

If you have agreed to pay the claim in instalments you must get a signed receipt from the plaintiff after every payment, and give it to the court.

If you miss a payment the plaintiff can ask you to pay the remaining amount immediately.

If you decide to pay part of the claim

If you think you should only pay part of the claim, you must:

  1. Complete a notice of admission form
  2. which is on the back of the notice of defence
  3. Give it to the court, either in person or by mail.

If you don’t agree with the claim

If you don’t agree with the claim you must:

You will be asked to attend a meeting with the plaintiff and a court registrar to discuss the claim, called a pre-hearing conference.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017