Legislation Reducing Upper Limit Of Minor Civil Claims To Be Introduced

Legislation Reducing Upper Limit Of Minor Civil Claims To Be Introduced

South Australia Attorney-General John Rau

Upper Limit For Minor Civil Matters To Be Reduced

Victor P Taffa

The Government has introduced legislation to reduce the upper limit for Minor Civil matters in the Magistrates Court to $12,000.

“The $12,000 limit will ensure that South Australians still have an informal and cost effective means of litigating minor civil disputes.” Attorney-General John Rau said.

The Office of Crime Statistics and Research (OCSAR) analysed the effects of an amendment to the Magistrates Court Act 1991 made in 2012 to increase the upper limit to $25,000 and recommended the limit be reduced.

“The Minor Civil jurisdiction is about finding the right balance to allow minor civil disputes to be litigated in an informal and cost effective way. This increases access to justice.” Attorney-General Rau said.

“The Government has been closely monitoring the $25,000 limit since its implementation. The OCSAR Report shows that this limit is too high.”

Matters such as small debt recovery, nuisance and neighbourhood disputes, are dealt with in the minor civil matters list, where there is minimal formality and parties are generally not entitled to legal representation.

This scheme is designed to improve access to justice for small claims, whereby people can agitate civil disputes without the fear of being bogged down in legal costs.

 

Background

 In 2012, the Government passed legislation to improve efficiencies within the Courts.

Among the reforms was a proposed increase in the upper limit for Minor Civil matters from $6,000 to $12,000.

The Bill was amended in the Legislative Council to increase the upper limit to $25,000.

An upper limit of $25,000 has meant that some of the minor civil matters are legally complex, and the lack of legal representation has led to delays in the finalisation of such matters.