How to Enforce a Payment in SA

Oct 13, 2015
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Written by Anthony Fong

Learn how to enforce a payment in SA in three steps.

Step 1: Informal Communication

What is this?

The more formal Steps 2 and 3 (Letter and potential Court action) could be intimidating to the other party, so you should try to salvage the existing relationship. As such, you should attempt to re-establish informal contact with them by perhaps phone or email. We recommend this because at times, the unpaid invoice could be a result of a simple oversight or misunderstanding, and a phone call here could be a solution. If you are unsuccessful with this step, proceed with Step 2.

STEP 2: Send a Final Notice of Claim

What is it?

This is a formal notice, but not a court action, which states your position in writing for recovering the outstanding amount. The form can be found online or at the Magistrates Court.

What should it contain?

You will need to state what is being claimed, the potential to proceed to court if unresolved and also the alternative options such as mediation. Also, there is a 21 window in which they can reply, a lack of reply would result in court proceedings.

If the 21 days elapse or there is an unsatisfactory response, proceed to Step 3.

STEP 3: Small Claims debt recovery action

 What is it?

Basically, this is a relatively informal local court action, which you can do yourself. It is applicable to money, goods purchased/delivered, labour or a combination of these. Within South Australia, the Magistrates Court can only deal with claims up to $6 000.  You will most likely prefer to be self-represented as this is a relatively minor process.

 How to do it:

This process has three sub-steps.

1.  Preliminary instructions before getting to court:

a. Then, to commence court proceedings, complete a ‘Minor Civil Action – Claim form’, found at Court or on the

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