Lodge a civil claim with the Magistrates Court
You can lodge a civil claim in the Magistrates Court if you want to start a court action to recover money owed to you. This is often called suing, or civil litigation.
If you want to recover something other than money, you should get legal advice.
Who can use this form?
You can use this form to complete a civil claim up to $150,000. If the amount you are claiming is more than $150,000 (or $25,000 or less), read the information below on other ways to lodge a claim.
You can use this form if you are:
- an individual, a business or a litigation guardian acting on behalf of a trust or deceased estate
- the solicitor or lawyer for one of those parties.
The person or entity making the claim is known as the plaintiff. The person or entity being sued is known as the defendant.
You can only use this form for claims you want to lodge at the Brisbane Magistrates Court.
How to complete this form
To complete this form you need to provide a short description of the facts of the claim (known as a statement of claim).
Your statement of claim should include:
- the date(s) and place the debt happened
- the amount you're claiming and how it was worked out
- why you're owed the money (e.g. liquidated debt, damages, negligence, etc.)
- the interest you're claiming (if any) and how it was calculated—you can calculate interest using the courts’ interest calculator
- the costs you're claiming (if any).
How to lodge your claim
To lodge your claim you need to download, print and sign your completed claim and statement of claim and lodge them (in person or by post) at the Brisbane Magistrates Court. You must lodge your originals and 2 copies for each of the defendants.
You must meet any deadlines for lodging your claim, which may be required by law. You should get legal advice to make sure you meet any deadlines.
You must pay a filing fee when you lodge your claim. The fee may be claimable as costs and can be included in your claim.
Service of documents
Once you have lodged your claim and paid the filing fee, the court registry will return sealed copies to you.
You must give (or serve) a sealed copy to each of the defendants within 12 months of filing it. You can do this yourself, or employ a commercial agent, process server or enforcement officer to do it for you.
You can find contact details for commercial agents and process servers in the yellow pages. Court staff can give you the names of enforcement officers.
Some fees you pay to serve the documents may be claimable as costs and can be included in your claim. If you’re unsure about the amount you can claim, contact the Magistrates Court.
What happens next?
If the defendant pays the amount of your claim, the matter will end.
Otherwise, the defendant has 28 days from receiving your claim to lodge documents to defend it. Then your matter may need to go to court to be heard and decided. There are steps you must take before your matter can be listed for a hearing.
If the defendant doesn’t lodge documents to defend the claim, you’ll need to apply to the court to have the matter finalised in your favour.
Contact the Magistrates Court for more information.
Other ways to lodge a claim
Debts up to $25,000
If your claim is $25,000 or less, it may be better to lodge it with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). The QCAT minor civil disputes process is simpler, quicker and cheaper as it doesn’t involve lawyers or legal fees.
Debts over $150,000
Complete a hard copy form
You should get legal advice before starting this court action if you’re unsure about your legal rights, have any questions about the law, or want to know if your claim may succeed.
Magistrates court registry staff can help you with procedural information to do with your claim, but cannot give legal advice.
You can lodge your claim without using a lawyer, but the defendant can employ a lawyer to defend the claim. If that happens and your claim is not successful, you will most likely be ordered to pay the defendant’s lawyer’s fees, which could be expensive.
Read more about legal advice vs procedural information.
Contact a magistrates court.