Getting a judgment

You need a judgment in your favour before you can take enforcement action against a defendant. (Additionally, once you get a judgment, there may be other steps to take before enforcement can begin).

Default judgment

After 28 days, if the defendant hasn’t filed a defence, you can apply for a default judgment using Form 25 - Request for default judgment (DOC, 31.5 KB).

Known amount of money

If the amount of money is known, file original copies of the following documents for a default judgment:

Unknown amount of money

If the amount of money can’t be quantified, you must also file additional affidavits (Form 46) made by a qualified person or people (such as a car repairer in the case of car damage). This enables the registrar to assess the amount of damages.

Time limit to apply

If a defence hasn’t been filed with the court, you can apply for default judgment up to one year after the documents have been served. Contact the issuing court to confirm that a defence hasn’t been filed. The defendant can file a defence at any time before judgment is given.

Summary judgment

If the defendant files a defence and the court decides the defence to the action is not sufficient, you can apply to the court for a summary judgment.

An application for summary judgment is made on notice, meaning:

  • the defendant is served with the application and supporting documentation
  • the application is determined by a magistrate who hears both parties and makes a decision.

To apply for a summary judgment, you require:

The application form must state that you’re applying for a summary judgment against the defendant. The affidavits are sworn documents that must show your grounds for making the application.

File these documents with the 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 give you two sealed copies.

Claiming interest

You can claim interest at judgment only if interest was claimed in the originating process, whether as a minor debt claim or a claim.

Interest cannot be an arbitrary amount. It is either:

  • an amount decided by prior agreement and part of the original contract
  • calculated according to the Supreme Court Act 1995 as simple interest, which is currently set at 10%.

If interest was claimed in the originating process, your affidavit should indicate when the interest starts. If no date is included, the interest will be taken from the date that the originating document was filed at the court.

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

Use the interest calculator to calculate simple interest.

Claiming additional costs

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

You can claim the service fee only 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 are allowed only if further evidence is provided (e.g. an invoice) from the agent concerned.

You can’t claim additional costs for travel and time of work if you serve the claim yourself.

Serving the defendant

It’s 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, bring the original affidavit of service to court showing when you served the defendant.

Legal representation

Both defendant and plaintiff may choose to be legally represented in court unless expressly stated otherwise in the Uniform Civil Procedures Rule 1999, e.g. minor debt claims. If you’re considering civil action, you should seek independent legal advice.

Court staff can assist you with general procedural matters, such as filing court document and giving information about general court procedures and protocols.

Court staff can’t give legal advice or recommend what you should do in your case. Read more about what court registry staff can and can’t do.

Getting the judgment

If you’re successful with your application, file an original and two copies of Form 58 - Judgment or order (UCPR) (DOC, 30.0 KB).

The registry staff will give you a sealed copy of the judgment for your records.

What happens next

The original of the judgment is retained with the court file and a copy is sent to a credit reporting agency for their records.