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Common questions

Judgments - Civil


    Do I need legal representation to apply for a judgment?

    No. However, if you are considering civil action you should seek independent legal advice.

    Can the other party have a legal representative?

    Yes. Both the defendant and the plaintiff may choose to be legally represented unless expressly stated otherwise in the Uniform Civil Procedures Rule 1999, e.g. minor debt claims.

    Court staff can assist you with general procedural matters. Staff will help you with:
    • filing court documents
    • information about general court procedures and protocols.

    Court staff are not allowed to:

    • give legal advice
    • recommend what litigants should do in their case.
    A default judgment is given by the court when the defendant does not file a defence.

    Whether you have filed a minor debt claim or another claim in the Magistrates Court, you must first serve the claim on the defendant.

    If the defendant has not filed a defence within 28 days from when the claim was served, you can apply to the court for a judgment by default.

    The documents to be filed for a default judgment for a known amount of money (liquidated) are the original copies of:

    • the affidavit of service on Form 46 – Affidavit (UCPR)
    • Form 25 – Request for default judgment (UCPR)
    • Form 46 - Affidavit in support of the request for judgment (UCPR)
    • the judgment on Form 26 – Default judgment (UCPR) - and two copies.

    For an amount of money that cannot be quantified (unliquidated), you must also file additional affidavits made by a qualified person or people. This will allow the registrar to assess the amount of damages.

    For example, if you have filed a claim for a motor vehicle accident, you must submit further affidavits from an authorised assessor/repairer. These will show the amount of the claim and a fair and reasonable assessment of the damage sustained in the accident.

    How much is the filing fee?

    There is no filing fee associated with this type of application.

    What happens to the default judgment?

    Once the registrar has approved the application for default judgment, you will be given a sealed copy of the judgment document for your records.

    The original will be retained with the court file and a second copy will be sent to a credit reference agency (depending on certain criteria) for their records.

    You will require a judgment in your favour before enforcement action can be taken against the defendant. However, you may need to take other steps before enforcement can begin.

    Can I claim interest on a default judgment?

    Interest can only be claimed at judgment if it has been pleaded. This means the interest must be stated as being claimed in the originating process whether as a minor debt claim or a claim.

    Interest cannot be an arbitrary amount. It is either:

    If interest has been pleaded, your affidavit should indicate when the interest starts. If no date is included, the interest allowed will be taken from the date of filing the originating document at the court.

    The affidavit in support of the request for default judgment should clearly show how the interest has been calculated.

    Can I include additional costs for travel and time off work if I serve the claim myself?

    You can only claim the filing fee for the originating process and the service fee when you are applying for judgment.

    The service fee can only be claimed if you used the services of a licensed commercial agent, process server or bailiff to serve the document.

    The amount of the fee is governed by legislation and additional fees will only be allowed if further evidence is provided (e.g. an invoice) from the agent concerned.

    When is it too late to apply for judgment?

    If a defence has not been filed with the court, you can apply for default judgment up to one year after the documents have been served. You should contact the issuing court to confirm that a defence has not been filed.

    The defendant can file a defence at any time before judgment is given.

    What is a summary judgment?

    You can apply to the court for a summary judgment once a defence has been filed.

    A plaintiff can apply for summary judgment if the court decides that the defence to the action is not sufficient.

    An application for summary judgment is made on notice. This means:

    • the defendant is served with the application and supporting documentation
    • the application is determined by a magistrate who will hear both parties and make a decision.

    How do I make an application for summary judgment?

    To file the application you will require:

    • the original + two copies of Form 9 – Application (UCPR)
    • the original + two copies of Form 46 – Affidavit (UCPR).

    The application form should state that it is for a summary judgment against the defendant.

    The affidavits are sworn documents which must show your grounds for making the application.

    What do I do with these forms?

    You should file these documents with the Magistrates Court where the action was initiated. The registry will list the application for a hearing date.

    The court will retain the original application and affidavit and provide you with two sealed copies.

    It is then your responsibility to ensure the application and affidavits are served on the defendant as both parties are expected to appear on the allocated date.

    On the day of hearing of the application, you will need to bring an original affidavit of service showing when you served the application and affidavits on the defendant.

    What if I am successful with my application?

    If you are successful with your application, you will need to file an original and two copies of the Form 58 – Judgment (UCPR).

    Registry staff will provide you with a sealed copy of the judgment for your records.

    The original will be retained with the court file and a second copy will be sent to a credit reference agency (depending on certain criteria) for their records.

    You will require a judgment in your favour before enforcement action can be taken against the defendant. However, you may need to take other steps before enforcement can begin.

    What can I do if the defendant does not pay the order for my minor debt claim?

    In order to enforce the court order, you will first need to have a judgment.

    As the magistrate has already made the order in your favour, you will only need to file the following documents with the court:

    • the original + two copies of Form 58 – Judgment (UCPR)

    Once this document has been filed, you will be given a sealed copy of the judgment for your records.

    The original will be retained with the court file and the second copy will be sent to a credit reference agency (depending on certain criteria) for their records.

    You will require a judgment in your favour before enforcement action can be taken against the defendant. However, you may need to take other steps before enforcement can begin.

    What can I do if the Small Claims Tribunal has ordered the respondent to pay me money but I still haven’t received any?

    The Small Claims Tribunal order must be entered as a judgment in the Magistrates Court before the order can be enforced..

    You will need to file the following documents with the court:

    • a sealed copy of the order of tribunal
    • the original (Small Claims Tribunal)
    • the original + two copies of Form 58 – Judgment (UCPR).

    You will need to file these documents at the court located closest to where:

    • the person required by the order to make the payment resides or has a place of business
      or
    • you (the person who is receiving the payment) resides or has a place of business.

    Once these documents have been filed, you will be given a sealed copy of the judgment for your records.

    The original will be retained with the court file and a second copy will be sent to a credit reference agency (depending on certain criteria) for their records.

    Enforcement action can be taken against the defendant if the order is registered. There is no additional cost for registration.

    You should contact your local Magistrates Court for the relevant affidavit to complete.

    What can I do if I have a judgment against me for something I have already paid?

    In certain circumstances, the judgment debtor can make an application to the court to have the judgment set aside. You will require:

    • the original + two copies of Form 9 - Application (UCPR)
    • the original + two copies of Form 46 – Affidavit (UCPR) to support the application.

    The application form must clearly state that you wish to have the judgment, made against you on a specified date, set aside.

    You must file these documents with the Magistrates Court where the judgment was given. The court will list the application for a court date.

    The court will retain the original application and affidavit, and will provide you with two sealed copies.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that the application and affidavits are served on the enforcement creditor as both parties are expected to appear on the allocated date.

    What happens at the hearing?

    On the day of the hearing, you will need to bring an original affidavit of service showing when you gave the application and affidavits to the enforcement creditor.

    If you are successful in your application, you will need to file an original and two copies of Form 59 – Order (UCPR) with the court.

    The court will then notify the credit reference agency that the judgment has been set aside.

    You must then comply with any further order made by the magistrate, which may include filing other documentation within a defined time.

    If you do not comply with any further orders, the other party can apply for summary judgment against you.

    Where can I obtain further information?

    You can obtain further information from your local Magistrates Court or community legal centre.


    Last reviewed
    21 June 2011
    Last updated
    4 September 2012

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