Recovering a Debt in WA

This article provides some guidance in file proceedings in the Magistrates Court of Western Australia.  We always recommend hiring an experienced Perth lawyer if you need further assistance. 


The Magistrates Court of Western Australia  is split into two jurisdictions: the criminal and civil jurisdiction.  This article will discuss the civil jurisdiction. 

The Court’s civil jurisdiction is responsible for:

  • claims for debt or damages of up to $75,000;
  • minor claims for debt or damages up to $10,000;
  • consumer/trader claims over the sale, supply or hire of goods or services;
  • residential tenancy matters involving amounts up to $10,000; and
  • claims for the recovery of ‘real property’ up to a gross rental value of $75,000

So what’s the difference?

An Individual  can elect to their claim dealt with under the minor case division if they have a claim that is under $10,000.00. Minor Case Claims are less formal  than a general procedure claim. When the defendant lodges a notice of intention  to defend, the case will be set  for a  pre-trial conference. At pre-trial conference, the Court will try  to bring the parties to a settlement. Parties to a minor case claim cannot have solicitors  represent then unless there are special circumstances .

A general procedure claim is more formal and the parties can have solicitors  represent them. A party can elect to commence a general procedure claim, no matter the amount of the claim. You must commence a general procedure claim if their claim is over $10,000.00 (you cannot start a minor case claim).

How to Commence A Claim

If you believe that you have a legal claim (such as a debt recovery action)  against a person for up to $75,000.00, then we always suggest that you write a letter of demand to them giving the person or company a reasonable amount of time to pay your demand. We usually suggest that you give between 14 to 28 days to pay.

The next step that should take to commence legal action in the Court, is to complete one the following forms:

  1. for an general procedure claim, you need to fill out a form 3.
  2. for a minor case claim, you need to fill out a form 4. (please click the above link to get a copy of these forms)

This information will assist when receiving advice from a lawyer in Western Australia.

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