QLD Being sued for uni fees, to defend or not....

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8 August 2019
Hi All,

My girlfriend is being sued for outstanding university fees she didn't realise she still owed. Long story short, they kept sending correspondence to her old mailing address, but never bothered to phone or email. We have the option to defend the claim, in which if we did, we would only defend the interest accumulated and not the original amount claiming that they hadn't made a reasonable attempt to contact her.

This is in QLD by the way (Interest as per the Civil Proceedings Act 2011).

Just a few questions

  1. If we choose to defend, I assume we go to court or Qcat for a day?
  2. IF we do go to court and lose, would their be additional costs awarded to her (other than if she decides to get a lawyer).
  3. If we don't choose to defend, and thereby don't complete the "Notice of Intention to Defend" and accept the amount owed, do we need to do anything? Or do they just bill us with a notice?

Cheers for any help.

Rob Legat - SBPL

LawTap Verified
16 February 2017
Gold Coast, Queensland
There will be opportunities to settle the matter without going to court or a tribunal. If you're inclined, and able, to reach a settlement do it, and do it early. Court proceedings are costly in terms of time and money. If you can sort it out before expending either of those, it is in the best interests of both parties to do so.

In answer to your questions:
1. There will generally be opportunities to mediate before a hearing. QCAT will mandate it. Courts prefer for parties to arrive at their own mutual decision wherever possible. If it does go to a final hearing, it could take more than one day depending on the amount of evidence and number of witnesses. Too hard to tell.
2. Very possibly. If it's in a court, almost definitely. If it's in QCAT, generally it is expected that parties will wear their own costs but the Tribunal has a discretion to award costs. QCAT also requires self-representation unless leave is given for legal representation. Self represented litigants generally don't get any form of costs awards beyond 'hard expenses' (filing fees, service fees, and the like).
3. You'll likely get a default decision/default judgment entered against you, followed by enforcement proceedings. Judgment will also be entered on your girlfriend's credit files and remain for 5 years. See my comments above on dealing with it early - this is one of the reasons to do so.


8 August 2019

Thanks very much mate, pretty much as i presumed but it's good to confirm without having to fork out money on legal fees.