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Using the Legal System to collect debts in Queensland

Below is an overview of using the Legal system in Queensland to collect debts. The information provided in this overview does not constitute legal advice, but rather is provided to Creditors as an overview of the steps that could be taken to obtain payments in collection of a debt. Each debt collection case is different. It is our debt collection practice to use the legal system through our associated Law Firm, Collection Law Partners, where it is likely that payments will result. Some Creditors use the legal system and Bankruptcy action out of principle (knowing they will not receive any economic benefit) or to establish a reputation with debtors so they are taken seriously and placed first in the queue of creditors that will receive payments when the debtor elects to make payments.

Included in the overview is a workflow to assist in the understanding of the process. The workflow is located after the article. You may also like to download a copy of this workflow for you own records. A link for the download is at the end of this article.

The court scale costs (including court filing fee costs, allowed process server costs and scale solicitor costs)  advised below are current as at July 2018, and are subject to change. There are other fees and charges for some actions that have no permitted court scale rate which cannot be added to the debt, but still payable. The court scale costs are for undefended matters only.


Claim / Statement of Claim

  • After expiry of a Default Notice the initiating action in the Magistrates Court is a Statement of Claim (also referred to as a SoC).
  • The claim must be served personally. You have 12 months to effect service, and extensions may be applied for.

  • Can apply for Judgment 28 days after service. You have 1 year to apply for Judgment after served.

  • The Magistrates Court has jurisdiction up to $150,000.

  • Court scale costs are detailed below for an undefended matter. The actual cost will be slightly higher due to the cost of personal service (approximately $80, possibly higher for remote or multiple attendances).

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $750.99 $465.84
$751 to $1,500 $540.64
$1,501 to $2,500 $631.94
$2,501 to $5,000 $1,043.94
$5,001 to $10,000 $1,219.94
$10,001 to $50,000 $1,599.64
$50,001 to $100,000 $1,864.54
$100,001 to $150,000 $1,995.14



  • This action formally registers the debt with the court and allows further collection action.

  • Judgment stands for 12 years. 

  • You must apply for leave from the court to enforce your judgment after 6 years.

  • Court scale costs are detailed below;

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $1,500 $89.89
$1,501 to $2,500 $120.69
$2,501 to $5,000 $188.89
$5,001 to $10,000 $234.54
$10,001 to $150,000 $302.19


Enforcement Options

These have been broken down into options where no consideration of the debtors financial position is given or where the court must consider the debtors financial position before making an order.


Enforcement options where no consideration for a debtors financial position is given by the Court;


1. Enforcement Warrant - Seizure and Sale

  • The Bailiff physically attends the property of debtor to demand payment and tag any assets of value.

  • If payment cannot be made goods to the value of the debt are seized and sold

  • Court scale costs are detailed below, but increase where the execution address is more than 12km from the registry (the Bailiff is paid on a cents per km basis thereafter);

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $1,500 $136.10
$1,501 to $2,500 $145.60
$2,501 to $5,000 $226.10
$5,001 to $10,000 $267.60
$10,001 to $20,000 $329.10
$20,001 to $150,000 $355.10


2. Bankruptcy Proceedings

  • For a more detailed overview of Bankruptcy, please visit the Bankruptcy overview section of our website.

  • Judgment must be obtained then a bankruptcy notice served.

  • Once Bankruptcy notice has expired then Bankruptcy can be applied.

  • Once bankruptcy obtained all debts owed by the debtor are captured under the Bankruptcy.

  • The AFSA filing fee for a bankruptcy notice is $470.

  • The Creditors Petition / Sequestration Order and appointment of a Trustee cost is approximately $10,000 - $12,000.


Enforcement options where there must be consideration of a debtors financial position by the Court



1. Statement of Financial Position

Before any of the below enforcement actions can be undertaken, a Statement of Financial Position must be issued to the debtor allowing the debtor 14 days to complete it with supporting documentation (this is similar to an examination notice in the NSW system).

*** Important note ***

Where a fully completed and signed statement of financial position is received back from your debtor, you do not need to conduct an enforcement hearing in order for the court to consider the debtor financial position and ability to make payments towards your debt. This saves both time and money in the recovery process. The cost of this action is approximately $80 and is not recoverable from the debtor.


2. Enforcement Hearing

This step must be conducted where you have not received a completed statement of financial position from the debtor and want to use any of the enforcement options available below (if for example you already know where the debtor is employed and would like to issue a warrant for a redirection of earnings).

  • This is used where you are unaware of Debtors Assets, Employment, or as noted above you have not received a completed statement of financial position from the debtor.

  • Documents are personally served on the debtor to attend court.

  • Hearing is conducted by the Registrar, with an agent and debtor. The debtor must provide details of income expenses and assets.

  • If debtor doesn’t attend then you can apply for an Enforcement Hearing Warrant

  • If the debtor does not attend and you do not have a completed statement of financial position, you cannot apply for any further enforcement action other than the Enforcement Hearing Warrant.

  • The debtor may make an offer / installment order at this stage to make payments towards the debt.

  • Court scale costs are detailed below. The actual cost will be higher for service and attendance (approximately an extra $200 that is not recoverable under the Judgment). An agent can attend an Enforcement Hearing (does not have to be a solicitor)


Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $1,500 $294.12
$1,501 to $2,500
$2,501 to $5,000 $408.12
$5,001 to $10,000 $486.12
$10,001 to $20,000 $662.12
$20,001 to $150,000 $717.12


3. Enforcement Hearing Warrant

  • This is used where the debtor did not attend an enforcement hearing.

  • The bailiff will attempt to arrest the debtor to bring them before the court to conduct an enforcement hearing.

  • Court scale of costs is below

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $1,500 $136.10
$1,501 to $2,500 $145.60
$2,501 to $5,000 $226.10
$5,001 to $10,000 $267.60
$10,001 to $20,000 $329.10
$20,001 to $150,000 $355.10


4. Redirection of Earnings / Debt / Permanent Redirection

  • This is used where the court is fully aware of the debtors financial circumstances following a completed statement of financial position or enforcement hearing.

  • You must know the financial institution details or employers details

  • Documents are served on the financial institution or employer

  • Redirection of Debt - Financial institution advises of amount garnished (if any). There are protected monies (Centrelink Benefits) that you may not received. This is a one off payment unlike a Redirection of earnings.

  • Redirection of Earnings / Permanent Redirection: The court will issue this warrant after considering if:

  1. the debtor is employed, and the employer’s identity and address
  2. the debtor earns a sufficient amount to pay the warrant on top of living expenses and other liabilities
  3. the amount to be redirected imposes unreasonable hardship.
  • Court scale rates are below. Actual costs will be higher with the cost of service (approximately $100 that is not recoverable);


Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $1,500 $136.10
$1,501 to $2,500 $145.60
$2,501 to $5,000 $226.10
$5,001 to $10,000 $267.60
$10,001 to $20,000 $329.10
$20,001 to $150,000 $355.10

Workflow of the QLD Process

You can download this workflow here -

QLD Legal System workflow to collect debts updated QLD Legal System workflow to collect debts updated (48 KB)

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