The courts

A claimant may choose to pursue an outstanding payment through the court system, which includes the Magistrates, District or Supreme Courts.

The amount in dispute dictates which court will hear your matter:

  • you can apply to the Magistrates Court for debts up to $150,000
  • you can apply to the District Court for debts above $150,000 up to $750,000
  • you can apply to the Supreme Court for debts above $750,000.

Note: The Magistrates Court offers a mediation service as an alternative to going to trial.

To avoid the expense, time and conflict of a trial through court, it’s worth getting some legal advice to:

  • help you decide if court action is suitable for your circumstances
  • explore faster and more affordable dispute resolution options such as case appraisal, mediation, adjudication or QCAT.

More information about how to apply to the courts and how judgment is enforced can be found on the Queensland Courts website.

Notice of Intention to start legal proceedings

When can a claimant recover an unpaid amount through the courts?

A claimant may decide to initiate debt recovery proceedings in a Queensland court if the respondent has not paid the amount in a payment claim by the due date for the progress payment.

What process must be followed before starting proceedings?

When deciding to pursue an unpaid amount through the courts, the following conditions apply:

  • the respondent has not paid the amount in the payment claim by the due 
  • the claimant must give a warning notice to the respondent within 30 business days of the due date for the payment using the s99 – Notice of Intention to Start Legal Proceedings (PDF) 
  • the claimant must wait at least 5 business days after giving the warning notice before taking the proposed legal action.