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Introduction

This factsheet should be used when you want to bring a claim for damages in the Magistrates, District or Supreme Courts. 

 

There are a number of issues which you should consider before bringing a claim such as:

Starting proceedings in court claiming damages is a serious step.  There may be serious cost consequences for you if your claim is not successful.  There are a number of different sources of free legal advice (such as Legal Aid, community legal centres or the internet) that you should consult before you start a claim.

 

This factsheet is designed to help you get started.

 

Before we get started

 

In this factsheet, "UCPR" means Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999. 

 

The UCPR is the formal rules that set out how civil court claims must be conducted, from the first step to initiate proceedings right through to what to do after the court has made final orders after the trial. If you ever need to know what the next step is in your court proceedings, or how to complete a particular step, you can look it up in the UCPR.

 

The UCPR is kept updated online under the Supreme Court Act at:

 

http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/S/SuprCrtQUCPRu99.pdf

 

Step 1:  Select the court (and registry)

 

Once you have decided to bring a claim in a court and confirmed that you have a valid cause of action, the first step is to decide which court and which registry to bring your claim in.

 

You firstly need to ask - what result do I want?

 

The table below shows you which court you should bring the claim in, based upon the amount of damages that you are claiming.

 

Amount of Damages

Correct Court

$0 - $25,000.00

Your claim may be a Minor Civil Dispute and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal may be able to hear your matter. You can find some information about QCAT at

http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/matter-types.htm

Up to $150,000.00

Magistrates Court

$150,001 - $750,000

District Court

$750,001 and above

Supreme Court

In some cases, you will want the court to do something other than award you compensation. You might want the court to make a declaration, to order specific performance of an agreement or to grant an injunction preventing the defendant from doing something. In such a case you must bring your claim in either the District or Supreme Courts.

Once you have decided which court you need to use, you will need to select the correct registry.  Unfortunately, you cannot necessarily bring your claim in the registry that is most convenient to you! You must bring your claim in the registry where:

The map of registries by area is available from the Queensland Courts website: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/114.htm

If your claim needs to be started in a registry that is outside Queensland, stop now!  This factsheet is only relevant for claims in the Queensland Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts.

It is important to be clear about which court and which registry to start your claim in.  If you select the wrong court or the wrong registry, your claim may need to be transferred, which could be expensive for you.

Chapter 2, Part 6 of the UCPR has more information about selecting the correct court and registry.

Step 2:  Drafting a Statement of Claim

For information on drafting a Form 16 Statement of Claim, see our separate factsheet Drafting a Statement of Claim - tips and examples.

Step 3:  Filing and service

"Filing" a document means placing a copy of the document on the court file, which is held at the court registry.  The contact details of each court registry are available on the Queensland Courts website at:

http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/539.htm

Keep both your Claim and your Statement of Claim together.

You will be required to pay a filing fee at the time of filing your claim, unless you apply for a fee waiver.  Current filing fees are contained in the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules (Fees) Regulation 2009.

http://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/S/SuprCrtQUCFR09.pdf

You can file your claim:

The registry will stamp and retain one of the copies of your claim.  This will be kept on the court file.  The registry will also stamp the other copies and return them to you. 

You must then serve a copy of the claim on each of the defendants personally - ordinary post is usually insufficient.  If your claim is not served properly, you may not be entitled to proceed with the claim.

Different forms of service, and how to properly serve court documents, is dealt with in a separate factsheet.  Alternatively, you can read the formal rules about service by checking Chapter 4 of the UCPR.

You must serve the claim as soon as possible - if you wait too long, you may not be entitled to proceed with the claim.  Make sure you keep a copy of the claim for your own future reference! 

If you need more information about how to complete a claim and statement of claim, please contact the Self Representation Service.

CHECKLIST

COMMENCING PROCEEDINGS

Done

To do

Reference

q   

Do I have a cause of action?

http://www.qpilch.org.au/resources/factsheets/Cause_of_Action.htm

q   

What are the elements of that cause of action?

q   

What do I need to prove to establish my claim?

q   

Which Court/Tribunal should I commence proceedings in?

Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 1999 Chapter 2, Part 6

q   

Which District should I commence proceedings in?

http://www.courts.qld.gov.au?114.htm

AND

FILING AND SERVING THE STATEMENT OF CLAIM

Done

To do

Reference

 

q   

Have I filed both my Claim and Statement of Claim at the appropriate court’s registry, either in person or by post?

Note: You will be required to pay a filing fee at the time of filing your claim.

http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/539.htm

For current filing fees seehttp://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/LEGISLTN/CURRENT/S/SuprCrtQUCFR09.pdf

 

q   

Have I served a copy of the Claim and Statement of Claim on each of the defendants personally?

Note: This should be done as soon as possible. You must serve your Claim within one year.

Chapter 4 UCPR

 

Contact us

For more information please contact QPILCH by:

E:    admin@qpilch.org.au
T:    07 3846 6317
F:    07 3846 6311
P:    QPILCH, PO Box 3631, South Brisbane BC, Qld 4101  
W:   www.qpilch.org.au


This factsheet is for general information purposes only.  Independent legal advice should be sought for thorough advice about your legal matter.

The Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House Incorporated (QPILCH) is an independent, not-for-profit community based legal service that coordinates the provision of pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups.  QPILCH also provides direct services for disadvantaged and marginalised Queenslanders.

QPILCH gratefully acknowleges the generous contributions provided by its funders, which can be accessed at www.qpilch.org.au on the 'Funding and acknowledgements' page.  

Last updated: 24 March 2011.