FAQ COMMUNITY LEGAL SERVICE FOR CIVIL LAW

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Frequently Asked Questions

TCLS & ICLS (CIVIL)


 

Credit | Debit

I lent someone money but they have not paid it back to me.
If you have lent someone money, you should contact the person and find out why they haven’t paid you the money back. In some cases, it may be that the person has forgotten or overlooked it.

 

If the person refuses to pay back the money you lent them, you may want to consider whether you and the person can participate in mediation. Mediation is an alternative way of settling a dispute without resorting to legal action. The following link to the Queensland government website will provide you with further information on mediation:

 

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/legal-mediation-and-justice-of-the-peace/setting-disputes-out-of-court/mediation/

 

In the event that mediation does not work and the person/s are still refusing to pay back the money you lent them, you may want to consider taking legal action.

 

You should seek legal advice before doing so.

 

You may contact an agency such as TASC on (07) 4616 9700 , Legal Aid Queensland (on 1300 65 11 888) or approach a private law firm for legal advice.

I owe someone money but I don’t have it to pay them back
Not all cases where someone is owed money, do the people go to court to get the money back. If you owe someone money but you don’t have the money to pay them back and they are asking for the money, you could try to:

 

  • negotiate with the person informally to have more time to pay them back; or
  • arrange to pay them back in small amounts on a regular basis.

If you do make payments to the person, be sure to keep a record of what amounts you have paid so that if there is a dispute later on, you will have evidence in support of having made the payment.

 

If you feel that the person is being unreasonable – you and the person can participate in mediation. Mediation is an alternative way of settling this dispute. The following link to the Queensland government website will provide you with further information on mediation:

 

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/legal-mediation-and-justice-of-the-peace/setting-disputes-out-of-court/mediation/

 

Example of debt disputes can be found on the Queensland Civil Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) website:

 

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/court/queensland-civil-and-administrative-tribunal/minor-debt-disputes/examples-of-debt-dispute/

 

If you are being harassed by a debt collector or someone is threatening to take legal action against you, you should immediately seek legal advice.

 

You may contact an agency such as TASC on (07) 4616 9700, Legal Aid Queensland (on 1300 65 11 88) or approach a private law firm for legal advice.

Can I go to court to get my money back?
It depends on the amount of money that the person owes you. If the person owes you more than $25,000 your matter will be heard in a Court but depending on the amount that is owed will depend on the Court.

 

If the person owes you $25,000 or less, you can make an application to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). You can ask the Tribunal to make an order that the person who owes you money pays that money to you.

 

The following link to the QCAT website will take you to the form: “Application for minor civil dispute – minor debt.”

http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/100855/form-03-app-mcd-minor-debt.pdf

The form contains a guide to assist you with completing the application and how to let the other person know that you are claiming.

 

Also, the following link to the QCAT website will explain what type of disputes QCAT can decide:

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/court/queensland-civil-and-administrative-tribunal/resolve-disputes-at-qcat/

Someone has given me a QCAT application claiming that I owe them money?
If someone is claiming that you owe them money and it is a minor debt ($25,000 or less) you can dispute the person’s allegation that you owe them money in QCAT.

 

The following link to the QCAT website will take you to the form: “Response to minor civil dispute – minor debt”.

http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0015/100860/form-07-response-to-mcd-minor-debt.pdf

 

The form contains a list of instructions on how to fill out a response and how to let the other person know that you are disputing their allegation that you owe them money.

What will happen when I go to QCAT?
There are a number of resources on the internet that will assist you in preparing for a hearing in The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

 

The following links to the QCAT website will provide you with further information about the QCAT hearing:

http://www.qcat.qld.gov.au/going-to-the-tribunal/types-of-proceedings/hearings

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/court/queensland-civil-and-administrative-tribunal/resolve-disputes-at-qcat/

Peace and Good Behaviour Orders

What is a Peace and Good behaviour Order?
A Peace and Good Behaviour Order is an Order made by the Magistrates Court under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982 (Qld). Essentially, the Order requires a person to keep the peace and be of good behaviour towards a person during the time in which the Order is in place.
How do I apply for a Peace and Good Behaviour Order against someone?
You can apply for a Peace and Good behaviour Order against a person if that person has threatened:

 

  • To assault or do bodily injury to you or any person under your care or charge; or
  • To get any person to assault or to do bodily injury to you or to another person under your care or charge; or
  • To get another person to destroy or damage your property; and
  • You are in fear of the person.

 

You can also apply if the intentional conduct of the person that is directed at you has caused you to fear that the person will destroy or damage any of your property.

 

If you want the Court to make an Order against the person, you will have the responsibility to prove to the Court that what you are saying about the other person is true. You will need to prove this to the satisfaction of the court.

 

You will need to be also aware that all the information that you tell the Court is true and accurate otherwise you may be subject to penalties. The following link to the Caxton Legal Centre Inc website will provide you with further information on Peace and Good Behaviour Orders.

 

https://caxton.org.au/pdfs/Peace%20and%20Good%20Behaviour%20Order%20kit%202013.pdf

You can also check out the Queensland Courts website which will provide you with further information on how to apply for an Order.

 

http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/84555/m-fs-peace-and-good-behaviour.pdf

What happens if I breach a Peace and Good Behaviour Order?
If you are subject to a Peace and Good Behaviour Order you will need to be aware that there are penalties that may apply if you are found to have contravened (breached) or failed to comply with the conditions of the Order under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982 (Qld). You may be fined up to $11,385[1] or be imprisoned for 1 year.

 

If you are alleged to have contravened an Order, you should seek immediate legal advice. You may contact an agency such as TASC on (07) 4616 9700, Legal Aid Queensland (on 1300 65 11 88) or approach a private law firm for legal advice.

 

[1] Penalty unit is $113.85 x 100

Does a Peace and Good Behaviour Order expire?
The Court has the power under the Peace and Good Behaviour Act 1982 (Qld) to make the Order last for a period of time the Court thinks is reasonable.

 

You should refer to the Order that you received from the Magistrates Court (if you are subject to one) to see when the Order expires. If you are unsure as to when the Order expires, you should seek legal advice.

 

If you think that a Peace and Good behaviour Order was incorrectly made, you should seek legal advice.

Neighbourhood disputes

My neighbour wants to replace our fence and has asked me to put money towards the cost of the new fence

It is important that you understand your legal rights and responsibilities over dividing fences between you and your neighbours. Your obligations in this situation will depend on factors such as the type of fence that currently exists (if any), where you and your neighbour’s properties are located, as well as what fence (including cost of constructing the new fence) your neighbour wants to put up.

 

The following link to the Queensland government website will provide you with further information on the basic rules for dividing fences and what is considered to be a sufficient dividing fence:

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/disputes-about-fences-trees-and-buildings/avoiding-fence-tree-and-building-disputes/your-responsibility-as-a-fence-owner/

 

Also, it is important that you and your neighbour keep on good terms and attempt to resolve this informally.

 

You should also obtain legal advice if your neighbour is being unreasonable. You may contact an agency such as TASC on (07) 4616 9700, Legal Aid Queensland (on 1300 65 11 88) or approach a private law firm for legal advice.

My neighbour’s tree is causing damage to my land or property; what can I do?
If the tree is located on your neighbour’s land, your neighbour has certain responsibilities and obligations over that tree as your neighbour is a ‘tree keeper’ under the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011. An obligation that your neighbour has is to ensure that the tree does not cause:

 

  • Serious injury to a person; or
  • Serious damage to your land or any property on your land; or
  • Substantial, ongoing and unreasonable interference with your use and enjoyment of your land.

 

If your neighbour’s tree is causing damage to your land and/or property, you should attempt to bring this issue to the attention of your neighbour. It is preferable that you and your neighbour resolve this with one another and avoid a legal dispute.

 

If you feel that your neighbour is not listening to you or not being reasonable – you and your neighbour can participate in mediation. Mediation is an alternative way of settling this dispute. The following link to the Queensland government website will provide you with further information on mediation:

 

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/disputes-about-fences-trees-and-buildings/avoiding-fence-tree-and-building-disputes/your-responsibility-as-a-fence-owner/

 

If mediation is unsuccessful and your neighbour refuses to do anything about the tree or compensate you for the damage caused to your property or land, you have the option of applying to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for an Order that the tree be removed and the neighbour compensate you for damage done to your property. You should seek legal advice before doing so.

 

The following link to the Caxton Legal Centre Inc website will provide you with further information on tree disputes:

 

https://caxton.org.au/pdfs/Tree%20Disputes%20Self%20Help%20Kit.pdf

My neighbour has written to me complaining that my tree is causing damage to their property.
This is similar to the situation above but this time, you may be the ‘tree keeper’. If the tree is situated on your land, you have certain responsibilities and obligations over that tree under the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act 2011.

 

As a ‘tree keeper’, you will need to keep in mind that you are responsible for not only what part of the tree is visible above the ground but also the roots of the tree. You are responsible if the roots of that tree damage your neighbour’s property.

 

If your tree is causing damage to your neighbour’s property – then your neighbour can take action against you for the damage that is caused. Your neighbour can apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal asking the Tribunal:

 

  • that you remove the tree that is damaging their land; or
  • that you conduct maintenance work on the tree; or
  • that the tree is removed completely at your cost; or
  • that you compensate your neighbour for the damage that your tree has caused.

 

It is preferable that you and your neighbour resolve this with one another and avoid a legal dispute. There is also mediation available if you and your neighbour are not able to agree on what to do about the tree or the damage.

 

The following link to the Queensland government website will provide you with further information on your responsibilities as a tree-keeper:

https://www.qld.gov.au/law/housing-and-neighbours/disputes-about-fences-trees-and-buildings/avoiding-fence-tree-and-building-disputes/your-responsibilities-as-a-tree-keeper/

 

If you have received a letter of demand from your neighbour or any legal material, you should seek immediate legal advice.

 

The following link to the Caxton Legal Centre Inc website will provide you with further information on tree disputes:

https://caxton.org.au/pdfs/Tree%20Disputes%20Self%20Help%20Kit.pdf

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