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VIC Magistrates Court or VCAT?

Discussion in 'Debt and Bankruptcy Law Forum' started by johnsmith1, 9 June 2016.

  1. johnsmith1

    johnsmith1 Member

    7 June 2016
    Likes Received:

    I have recently received Magistrates Court complaint (from a relatively large organisation) for approx. $3,300 seeking payment for (defective) goods purchased. I initially tried to resolve the issue with the seller but they would not respond so i successfully disputed the credit card transaction and (after a lot of exchange between us/banks) it was found in my favour and I had my money returned.

    The claim has been filed by a debt recovery lawyer and the statement of claim lacks detail. I have a very good defence which I will conduct myself.

    My questions are:
    * What are the pros and cons of leaving it in the Magistrates Court versus applying for the matter to move to VCAT (I don't like the idea of putting the disputed funds into trust to do this)?
    * Are there implications if in addition to lodging a defence (in VCAT or Magis. Court) if I also lodge counter claim?
  2. Paul Cott

    Paul Cott Well-Known Member
    LawTap Verified Lawyer

    26 May 2014
    Likes Received:

    There are a lot of differences between the Magistrates Court v VCAT. One is that VCAT is a pay your own costs jurisdiction. The court will generally award costs to the successful party.

    Courts are more formal, VCAT is meant to be less formal.

    Lawyers are more common in courts, for civil claims, below I think 10,000 they are generally not allowed.

    Any judgment in VCAT is not enforceable in its own right, the judgment holder has to register it in court. Though of course that doesn't affect you as much as you are a defendant.

    And VCAT matters generally proceed along a bit quicker.

    Hope that helps and good luck.

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