You may have fallen on hard times or you have a dispute with a creditor. You’ve attempted to communicate your dispute and its fallen on deaf ears or you may have attempted to negotiate a payment plan and the creditor refuses to entertain the notion..
So, you’ve just received a statement of claim and you don’t know what to do with it?
Whilst you may be tempted to just add it to the pile of junk mail and forget about it, you may want to think twice about doing so. If you have received a statement of claim you have 28 days from the date you received it to consider your options and, if necessary, file a defence. If you don’t deal with it – bad things will happen.
So, what happens if you just leave it in the pile of junk mail, will it just go away?
Unfortunately, deciding to ignore a statement of claim can lead to a series of bad things happening. For starters, a Default Judgment can be entered against you – that is a court issues an order which pronounces the debt is owing to the creditor and in reliance upon that the creditor can commence enforcement proceedings.
- Issuing a garnishee order to deduct payments from your wages or other income you usually receive to pay the debt
- Issuing a writ allowing a sheriff to seize your personal property to sell and pay for the debt
- Commencing bankruptcy proceedings against you
- A combination of the above.
- If a judgment is entered against you this usually listed on your credit rating and that may make it difficult for you to obtain credit in the future.
So, what should you do if you receive a statement of claim?
As a starting point, you should seek legal advice about the options available to you having regard to the facts and circumstances of your particular matter. By doing this you will be able to place yourself on the front foot from the outset and plan your defence or make arrangements for the payment of the debt without a judgment being entered. After all, a creditor simply wants to be paid.
There are several options which may be available to you, for example:
It may be that you have a valid defence to the claim and should file a defence and defend yourself in Court proceedings.
You may be able to negotiate with the party that issued the statement of claim to reach a settlement without having to resort to protracted and costly Court proceedings. This will of course depend on your individual circumstances and the attitude of the other party.
Sometimes you might be able to pay a reduced amount as a lump in satisfaction of the entire claim.
Alternatively, you may admit that you owe the amount claimed in the statement of claim… You may be able to negotiate an agreement with the other party to pay the amount claimed by way of instalment payments.
These are just some of the many options that are available to you if you are served with a statement of claim.
At Australian Property Lawyers, we can assist you with appropriate legal advice tailored to your unique circumstances with a view to resolving your matter. Contact us for further information – remember if you have been served with a Statement of Claim, the clock is ticking and time is of the essence.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.