Other Practice Areas

Our staff also have experience in other areas of law, and can cater for most of your legal needs. Please do not hesitate in seeking advice outside of main practice areas, some of which may include:

Debt – I am owed money

What should I do if someone owes me money?

The best way to start approaching a debt matter is to talk to the other party to find out their reasons for not paying the debt. The best outcome will be that you can negotiate with the other party to organise an acceptable method of payment.

 

If you have already tried this, or are unwilling to negotiate with the other party, then we advise that you contact us so that we may assist you in commencing legal proceedings to ensure payment of your debt.

What will we do to help?

The experienced team at Steiner Legal can assist you with the process of chasing the debt owed. This process will involve the sending of a letter of demand, and if that fails, the commencement of legal proceedings. Legal proceedings for chasing a debt will take at least 3 months. The process involves obtaining judgement in favour of you and the debt, and then enforcement proceedings to ensure that you receive the money owed.

What happens if the person owing me money claims that they do not owe me money?

If the debtor believes that they do not owe you money, they will have an opportunity to file a defence after we have begun legal proceedings. The debtor has 28 days to respond to our statement of claim. If they file a defence, there will be a hearing date set for your matter.

 

If they do not respond to the statement of claim within 28 days, we then file for ‘default judgment,’ which is the court order that says they must pay you the money owed.

What happens after we have a default judgment?

After the court has returned default judgment in your favour, we will begin enforcement proceedings to ensure payment of the debt. Enforcement proceedings could take the form of:

  • Garnishee order: an order that the money owed be taken from the debtor’s wages or bank account
  • Writ for levy of property: this is an order to have the sheriff take the debtor’s property and sell it, to satisfy the debt.
  • Examination notice: This ensures that we are able to gather information about the financial situation of the debtor
  • Bankruptcy or winding up of a company.

Throughout the entire process, interest will accrue on the judgment debt. Any costs associated with filing legal proceedings will also be added to the debt, as well as part of your solicitor’s fees.

 

For further information, or for help with your debt matter, please contact us on (02) 9555 5595 or tahlia@steinerelegal.com.au

Debt – I owe money

What should I do if someone is chasing me for money?

If you owe a debt, we can help by assisting you in arranging a payment plan to satisfy the debt with the creditor (the person you owe money to). We can also help by limiting your exposure to legal proceedings and costs.

 

If you don’t owe the debt, we can assist you in defending the matter.

What should I do if I receive a letter of demand?

If you receive a letter of demand you should make contact with the creditor and organise to pay the debt as quickly as you can. If you do not have the whole amount to repay, then discuss your options with the creditor – they may be happy to enter into a payment plan to satisfy the debt. This will help you to avoid accruing legal and interest costs for the debt.

 

If you do not believe that you owe the money, or you wish to dispute the debt amount, the team at Steiner Legal will be able to assist you in responding to the creditor. Contact us on (02) 9555 5595 if you are in this situation and we will do what we can to assist you.

I have received a statement of claim. What now?

A statement of claim is a document that the creditor has filed with the court, outlining the details of the debt owed. If you receive a statement of claim, you have 28 days to file a response to the claim. It is very important that you don’t ignore being served with a statement of claim, as failure to reply to a statement of claim can leave you open to a court judgement against you.

 

At this point you could elect to pay the debt back. You could apply to the court to organise a payment plan, however this needs to be accepted by the creditor.

 

If you wish to contest the claim, you should seek legal advice and assistance in filing a defence. You could also make a counter-claim against the original claim if, for example, you didn’t receive the complete order of goods.

 

By defending against the claim you will have to go to a court hearing.

What will happen at the court hearing?

If you need to attend a court hearing for your debt, the team at Steiner Legal will be able to help you to compile all the necessary evidence to support your claim. This evidence could include formal written statements from you and any witnesses, copies of invoices and receipts and any other material which could support your argument.

 

During the hearing the court will question both parties in regards to the evidence provided and come to a decision. Cross-examination of parties will only occur if the claimed debt is over $10,000.

 

At the conclusion of the hearing, the court will rule in favour of one of the parties. If the court rules for the creditor, the debtor will be required to pay a judgement debt immediately. The debtor will generally be required to pay legal costs and interest as well. You will usually receive a 28 day interest free period to pay the judgement debt.

 

For further information, or for help with your debt matter, please contact us on (02) 9555 5595 or tahlia@steinerlegal.com.au

Personal Bankruptcy

What does Bankruptcy Mean?

If you are declared bankrupt it means that you are unable to pay your debts as they fall due. Occasions of bankruptcy are recorded on the National Personal Insolvency Index.

How Does Someone Become Bankrupt?

A debtor can become bankrupt in two different ways. A debtor can voluntarily declare him/herself bankrupt through the issuing of a debtors petition, or can be declared bankrupt by a creditors petition followed by a sequestration order from the courts.

What is a Debtor’s Petition?

Once every 12 months a debtor is able to issue a declaration of intent to present a debtor’s petition. The debtor is able to issue this declaration by filing out a debtor’s petition form and by sending the form and a statement of affairs to the official receiver. If a debtor’s petition is accepted, the debtor is granted a 21 day stay period in which the debtor is able to attempt to negotiate with their creditors. During the stay period, creditors are unable to pursue formal enforcement proceedings. A debtor’s petition is not recorded on the National Personal Insolvency Index.

What is a Creditor’s Petition?

A creditor’s petition is a formal enforcement proceeding against a debtor, whereby a creditor seeks to have the debtor declared bankrupt and appoint a trustee for the debtor’s estate. A creditor’s petition can only be brought by a creditor, or group of creditors, who are owed at least $5,000 by the debtor. Further, a creditor’s petition will only be approved if the debtor has a residential or business connection with Australia, and has committed an act of bankruptcy in the 6 months prior to the issuing of the creditor’s petition. If a creditor’s petition is accepted, the courts will make a sequestration order against the debtor.

What is a Sequestration Order?

A sequestration order is an order made by a court against a debtor’s estate. Once a debtor receives a sequestration order they are deemed to be a bankrupt until the bankruptcy has been discharged.

What is an Act of Bankruptcy?

There are many different acts or transactions which can be taken as an act of bankruptcy. Some of these include making transactions void against the trustee, issuing a debtor’s petition and being served with a bankruptcy notice.

What is a Transaction Void Against the Trustee?

A transaction that is void against a trustee is a transaction that diminishes the property of a bankrupt’s estate that would otherwise be available for distribution among a bankrupt’s creditors. Some examples of transactions void against the trustee are undervalued transactions and transfers to defeat creditors.

What is a Trustee?

A trustee is a person or company who is appointed to administer a bankrupt’s estate. Some of the duties of the trustee include negotiating with creditors, determining whether the estate has any property available for distribution to creditors and administering the estate in an efficient manner.

What Property is Available For Distribution Among Creditors?

Most of a bankrupt’s property is able to be sold by the trustee to satisfy the debts owing to creditors. This includes personal property and business property where applicable.

What Property isn’t Available For Distribution Among Creditors?

There are many exceptions to what property can be sold by the trustee. Some of these include personal household property, superannuation policies and property held on trust for other people (eg. children’s bank accounts).

How Long Does Bankruptcy Last For?

Bankruptcy generally lasts for 3 years from the filing of a statement of affairs, but can be extended to up to 8 years due to breaches of certain conditions.

What Can Steiner Legal Do For You?

At Steiner Legal our staff can assist you with all matters regarding personal bankruptcy. Some of the services we provide include assisting with the preparation of a debtor’s petition and statement of affairs, negotiating with creditors to reach a settlement, defending against bankruptcy notices and advising you in regards to all available options regarding your debt.

 

For further information, or for help with your bankruptcy matter, please contact us on (02) 9555 5595 or admin@steinerlegal.com.au

Corporate Bankruptcy

Trademark registration and disputes

Defamation litigation

Commercial litigation

Building disputes

Dividing fences

Neighbours disputes

Coronial enquiries

Tenancy – Commercial and Residential

Strata disputes

Animal complaints

If your matter is not one that Steiner Legal can assist you with, you will have the benefit of our extensive referral network.

We are the right firm to assist you with your legal needs, ensuring you feel our high level of commitment and care while receiving accurate and superior quality legal representation.