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Using the Legal System to Collect Debts in Tasmania

Below is an overview of using the Legal system in Tasmania 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 Default Notice the initiating action in the Magistrates Court is a Statement of Claim (also referred to as a SoC).
Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $1,000 $267.90
$1.001 to $3,000
$3,001 to $5,000 $471.90
$5,001 to $10,000 $684.50
$10,001 to $50,000 $786.50



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

  • Judgment stands for 12 years. 

  • Court scale costs are $51.00;


Once Judgment had been granted, there are 4 choices of enforcement proceedings;


1. Oral Examination

  • This is used where you are unaware of debtors assets or employer.

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

  • The hearing is conducted by the Magistrate and debtor must provide details of income expenses and assets.

  • You can use the information obtained in the examination to decide your next enforcement action.

  • If the debtor does not attend the examination you can apply for an arrest warrant.

  • Court Scale Costs are detailed below. There will be additional costs for service and attendance of the Exam (approximately $200). An agent may attend an exam.

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $100,000 $135.50


2. Garnishee Order.

  • There are two types of Garnishee Orders - Attachment of Wages or Salary and Attachment of debts.You must know the debtors financial institution details or employers details.Documents are served on the financial institution or employer.Attachment of Wages or Salary - A provisional order must be served on the employer and debtor. The debtor and employer have 21 days in which to lodge a dispute to the claim. After 21 days a final order may be made directing the employer to remit monies. The amount is determined by the the Magistrate, however, typically an Order is made for 20% of the net earnings. The attachment remains in force for as long as the debtor remains with the employer or until the debt is satisfied.

  • Attachment of debts is the same as the attachment of wages or salary, with the following exceptions; The final order attaches to any and all income and no determination is made by the Magistrate. Net earnings are not taken into consideration.

  • There is no court fee or allowable court cost for this action. Any fees incurred are not recoverable from the debtor. There are fees involved in the preparation of the order and service of the order.

  • Costs are detailed below. The actual cost will be slightly higher due to the cost of personal service (approximately $80, possibly higher for remote or multiple attendances) and solicitor time (approximately $250). These costs assume that a dispute is not lodged.

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $100,000 $88.00


3. Warrant to Seize and Sell Property

  • The Bailiff 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.

  • The debtor can lodge an instalment order to stay the action

Debt Amount Court Scale Costs
$0.01 to $100,000 $256.40

4. Bankruptcy

  • 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.


Workflow of the legal system in Tasmania to Collect debts

Available as a PDF here:

Workflow of Tasmania Legal System to collect debts Workflow of Tasmania Legal System to collect debts (84 KB)

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