Defend a debt

If someone has filed a Claim and Statement of Claim with the court regarding a debt you (allegedly) owe them then you need to act quickly. If you do nothing, then the Plaintiff will usually be able to apply for “judgement by default” meaning that the person suing you will win by default and obtain a judgement.

If someone obtains a judgment against you it may be possible that they are able to:

  • Compel you to come to court
  • Require you to complete on oath a Statement of Financial Position with supporting documentations (bank statements, pay slips etc.)
  • Have a bailiff seize and sell your property
  • Obtain an order of the court requiring your employer to redirect some or all of your earnings to them until the debt is paid
  • Obtain an order to take money out of your bank account
  • Bankrupt you / wind up your business

Judgement Details

A judgement is enforceable for 6 to 12 years depending on the circumstances. Even if you do not have the money now, the creditor may wait until you do, or until you obtain employment.

One of the most critical issues we find debtors face is the loss of their home. A common misconception is that a house in joint tenants can’t be sold, or that having it in someone else’s name is always sufficient to protect it (for example, a husband or wife).

Although many debtors simply do not defend a matter, this may only delay the bailiff knocking on your door for two or three months. Filing a defence, however, can put you in a great position to defend the claim or negotiate a more reasonable payment plan.

Some common defences and ways to reduce the amount you owe may include:

  1. The product or service was not delivered as expected;
  2. The business engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct which resulted in you entering into the contract;
  3. You have a counterclaim or set off;
  4. The claim is commenced outside of the limitation period; and  
  5. The claim is poorly drafted or is otherwise defective.

Seek help

You should act urgently because usually you only have 28 days to file a defence. You are also entitled to ask for particulars (such as how did they calculate the debt) and to request any documents mentioned in the Statement of Claim.

Contact us about your Debt Dispute

We offer an initial, no cost, obligation-free consultation to assess the strength of your case.