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How to make a minor debt application

Step 1. Fill out a minor debt claim form

You can pick up a QCAT Form 3 - Application for minor civil dispute - minor debt from the QCAT Brisbane registry, your local Magistrates Court or download it from the QCAT website www.qcat.qld.gov.au/forms. You can see a sample of this form in Sample forms and documents

Type your answers into the form or print neatly in black or blue pen. Make copies of the completed form.

You will need one copy for the tribunal, one copy for you and one copy for each respondent. Photocopies are acceptable, but you must sign the form before you copy it.

Where there is a space on the form for the orders (decisions) you are seeking, state your claim and the amount you are claiming in one or two sentences.

Where there is a space to state your reasons for seeking those orders, explain your demand fully and simply. Do not make emotional remarks, but rather present the facts about who did what, where and when. Make sure you explain clearly what the respondent agreed to and what they failed to do, as well as how you arrived at the amount of the minor debt. You can provide further details on a separate sheet and attach it to your application. Sign each sheet of paper at the bottom.

To recover a debt:

  • Write down who you lent the money to, and the date you lent the money.
  • Briefly explain why you lent the money.
  • Explain when the money was to be paid back, and if there were any conditions such as interest to be paid.
  • Write the date you requested payment.
  • Write the date and amount of any payments you have received.

Step 2. Lodge your forms and pay a fee

Give or send the original and copies of the form including any attachments to the QCAT registry. Pay the tribunal's application fee. The registry staff will stamp your forms and give them a number. A scale of fees is available on the QCAT websitee or by phoning the QCAT registry on 1300 753 228.

The tribunal will give you one copy back of the stamped forms (called a sealed copy) for each respondent.

You may be eligible for a waiver of fees. To apply for a waiver of fees you will need to complete a Form 49 - Application for waiver of fees by reason of financial hardship. You can get this form from the registry or download it from the QCAT website.

Where do I lodge my application?

If you are in Brisbane you can lodge your form in the Brisbane registry at:

QCAT
Level 9
Bank of Queensland Building
259 Queen Street
Brisbane QLD 4000

If you are outside of Brisbane, you can lodge your form with your local Magistrates Court.

To find your nearest Magistrates Court, look under "Justice and Attorney-General" in the phone book or visit www.courts.qld.gov.au.

Step 3. Notify the other person about your application

You must deliver (serve) a copy of the filed application to the respondent. You need to arrange to have one of the stamped copies of the application forms delivered to the person or business you are claiming against as soon as possible. This is called 'serving the papers'.

You can do this yourself, but it is often better to pay a private process server or enforcement officer from the Magistrates Court to do it for you.

The QCAT website contains a practice direction for service of documents that explains the procedure if you want to personally serve a document on the respondent(s) yourself. A practice direction is a guideline that provides more information on a specific issue involved with QCAT applications and proceedings.

You can find a process server by:

  • asking at the Magistrates Court registry
  • looking in the Yellow Pages or other business directories.

How much will it cost to make a claim?

Check the filing fee with the QCAT registry or on the QCAT website www.qcat.qld.gov.au.

If you win your case the tribunal can order you be reimbursed for the cost of:

  • lodging the application
  • hiring a process server
  • business name or company search fee
  • service fee or service provider fee for electronic lodgement.

In some instances the tribunal can make an order about the legal costs of a solicitor. Usually you need permission from the tribunal to have a lawyer represent you and orders permitting representation are only made in a very limited number of circumstances.

Can I claim interest on the debt?

You can claim interest on the debt at the interest rate agreed on in the original contract, or at a rate the tribunal determines. You should get legal advice about how interest is calculated.

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