Taking legal action in the small claims court

Taking legal action is an option when a workplace issue can’t be resolved voluntarily. Before considering legal action, visit our Help resolving workplace issues page for a step-by-step guide to resolving workplace issues. 

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What is small claims?

A small claims action focuses on recovering small amounts of money and is faster and more informal than other court proceedings.

It’s also usually cheaper as lawyers aren’t normally needed.

The small claims process is available if:

  • the claim is for less than $20,000
  • the entitlement being claimed is covered under Australian workplace laws
  • the statutory time limit has not expired (usually 6 years from when the entitlement was due to be paid).

A court can make a legally binding decision based on the evidence presented to it.

You can take your own legal action at any time, even before getting help from us. If you've already lodged a request for assistance with us and you're thinking of taking legal action, let us know as soon as possible.

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Small claims guide for employers and employees

Whether you're taking legal action or responding to legal action which has been filed against you, you'll need to know the process and what to do at each step. 

Use our step-by-step guides to help you understand the small claims court if you're:

You can also watch our 6-part video series on the small claims process, starting with an 'Introduction to small claims'.













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Court forms and legal resources

For court forms and further information about taking a small claims action contact the Federal Circuit Court external-icon.png or the magistrates’ court in your state or territory:

To take legal action about breaches of an employment contract, or for a claim that’s for more than $20,000, seek independent legal advice. Find out where to get legal advice.

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What to do next:

Help for small business

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