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Statement of Claim: What Is It and How Do I Use One?
By Vanessa Emilio

A statement of claim is the final step to officially commence proceedings against someone who owes you money. This is notifying the court that you are owed money and that you have tried to ask the debtor to acknowledge and pay the debt.

A statement of claim must outline a 'real' debt claim supported by evidence of that debt owed and remaining unpaid. Evidence is usually in the form of a contract to show there was an agreement for a product, goods or services, invoices rendered that were not paid, and letters of demand that were ignored with receipts showing they were sent.

Once the statement of claim is lodged with the court, a copy of the claim, stamped by the court must then be served to the defendant within 6 months. This can be personally served to the debtor by you or done through a process server. Alternatively, the statement of claim can be posted by the court for a fee but you cannot post it yourself.

Before you lodge a statement of claim with the court, at least one letter of demand must be sent to the debtor. This is evidence that you have attempted to settle the dispute before going to a court. A court will not hear a matter where the parties did not first try to settle the dispute on their own. A debtor who ignores the letter of demand will not be viewed favorably by the court and will be seen to be disrespectful of court time and process.

In a letter of demand you must outline that this is the debtors' last chance to pay their debt before court proceedings are brought against them. The letter should be written in clear language, outlining the debt owed and should include copies of any relevant invoices, contracts, evidence of debt, as well as giving a deadline to pay the debt (usually two weeks). Importantly, the letter of demand should be sent by registered post or in some manner that evidences the letter was sent.

As far as court process is concerned, sending a letter of demand to the debtor shows that you have attempted to settle the dispute, could not and did all you could do to avoid court before lodging your claim in the court. It also proves the debtor has knowledge of the debt, your claim and that they are aware that you will be going to court to have the debt paid in the event they make no attempt to settle or address your claim.

Want to know more? Click here for Free information on Statement of Claim. Australian legal agreements and forms from http://www.Legal123.com.au.

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