Main Content Anchor

How can this guide help me?

This guide provides general information about how to recover a debt of $25,000 or less-known as a minor debt.

The minor debt application process provides a quick and affordable way to help you collect what you are owed. You can do it yourself, without using a lawyer. This guide tells you:

  • how to claim the money back you are owed
  • the procedure you will go through to collect your debt if you go to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)
  • how to fill in the forms you will need.

What is a minor debt?

A minor debt is when someone owes you $25,000 or less and you know exactly the amount they owe. A minor debt can be:

  • a sum of money you lent to another person
  • an 'I owe you' or 'IOU' note
  • a cheque that was not cleared because the writer of the cheque did not have enough funds to cover it
  • the cost of work done under a written or verbal contract.

Do not use this guide if:

  • someone owes you more than $25,000
  • your application is not for a fixed amount
  • you are a consumer having problems with a trader about goods or services (refer to Legal Aid Queensland's Consumer and trader disputes guide)
  • you are in conflict with another trader about goods or services
  • you have a claim against a builder for losses associated with residential building work
  • you have a dispute about a bond held by the Residential Tenancies Authority
  • you are claiming unpaid wages as an employee under the Fair Work Act.

The QCAT has other processes for these claims. For more information visit their website or call 1300 753 228.

Do I need to get legal advice?

It can sometimes be difficult to know whether your claim is a minor debt. If you are unsure get legal advice from:

  • • Legal Aid Queensland - call 1300 65 11 88 (for the cost of a local call from a landline). Mobile phone users can call (07) 3238 3444. Legal Aid Queensland is focused on providing legal advice to financially disadvantaged Queenslanders. To find out more visit
  • a community legal centre – go to or call 1300 65 11 88 to check services in your area
  • a private lawyer – call the Queensland Law Society on (07) 3842 5842 for names of lawyers who can help.
Back to top