Civil Law Western Australia

Civil Lawyers Western Australia

There are four civil law jurisdictions in Western Australia. These are the State Administrative Tribunal, the Magistrates Court, the District Court and the Supreme Court. The court or tribunal that a civil matter is commenced in depends on the type of civil claim and the amount of relief being sought.

Civil law jurisdictions

The State Administrative Tribunal deals with reviews of a wide range of government decisions including guardianship, equal opportunity, resources and development and town planning as well as civil and commercial disputes.

The Magistrates Court can determine civil matters involving less than $75,000.

Civil matters involving a value of more than $75,000 and less than $750,000 are commenced in the District Court, as well as all matters involving damages for personal injury and all matters relating to injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents.

The Supreme Court deals with civil disputes involving a value of more than $750,000, and with all probate matters.

Civil forms and timeframes

In Western Australia, there are different claim forms that need to be filed depending on the type of matter you are initiating. These are generally referred to as statements of claim. After a statement of claim has been filed with the court, it is served on the defendant.

Once the defendant has been served with a statement of claim, they have 14 days to file a defence, or 21 days if they live outside of Western Australia.

If the defendant ignores the claim, you can then make an application for default judgment. If they file a response, the matter will be set down for a conference in the hope it can be settled. If no resolution can be reached, the matter will be set down for trial.

Minor case claims

If you have a claim involving a value of less than $10,000, it can be heard in the minor case claim division of the Magistrates Court.

If you commence proceedings in the minor case claim division, you may not have legal representation unless all parties agree and legal costs will not be awarded.

The benefit of commencing a minor case claim is that the court will aim to help parties to reach a mutually beneficial settlement, with simplified procedures to make the processes less daunting.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Go To Court Lawyers.

Civil Law Western Australia Legislation

There are many different pieces of legislation that govern civil law in Western Australia. If you are filing a claim in the Magistrates Court the procedures are governed by the Magistrates Court (Civil Proceedings) Act 2004, which outlines the process that needs to be followed. However, you also need to be aware of the particular legislation that relates to your matter.

For example if it is a residential tenancy dispute, a claim for defamation, or a dividing fence dispute, which have their own legislation that needs to be adhered to as to the type of cause of action that can be taken.

Civil law WA Tribunals

The State Administrative Tribunal is Western Australia’s main tribunal and commenced in 2005, which incorporated over 50 smaller industry and public boards and tribunals. The tribunal can make decisions, settle disputes and review decisions; however it only has certain powers which are governed by legislation relating to the particular industry. Some of the matters that the tribunal can determine include commercial tenancy disputes (Commercial Tenancy (Retail Shops) Agreements Act 1985), review of decisions of the Building Commission, guardianship matters (Guardianship and Administration Act 1990), mental health appeals, and it also reviews a range of administrative government decisions.

Limitation Periods

Civil Law WA has various time limitation periods for you to make a claim, which vary considerably between types of matters. Most civil litigation matters over contract disputes, for example, have a time limit of 6 years, but other matters such as personal injury have a 3 year limitation, defamation only has a 1 year time limit, and employment law has even less with some time restraints being 21 days. Most time limitations are outlined in the Limitation Act 2005, and need to be strictly adhered to otherwise you may not be entitled to seek compensation or damages.

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