Financial assessment

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The court can assess your finances in three different ways – on paper, over the phone and at a hearing. The court will use the assessment to decide how much you can afford to pay, and how you will pay.

After the court has determined how you can pay, the court can give you instructions about how to pay or take enforcement action against you.

The court can assess your finances on paper

A financial statement outlines your finances for the court, which makes a decision about how you can pay. You or the creditor can file a financial statement. This can be useful if:

  • you don't have a phone or English is not your first language
  • you cannot attend a hearing
  • the creditor served you with a Notice to Complete a Financial Statement
  • you want to be pro-active in paying your debt but an attachment order isn’t suitable for you.

Links:

Find out more about how to file a financial statement

Download the financial statement for an individual [PDF, 238 KB] 

Download the financial statement for a company [PDF, 227 KB]

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The court can assess your finances over the phone

The creditor can apply for an assessment of financial means over the phone. A registrar will contact you by telephone to assess your financial situation. They can:

  • set out new payment instructions or
  • set a court enforcement action, for example:
    • payments made from your income (attachment order) or
    • your property taken and sold (warrant to seize property).

If the creditor does this, the filing fee may be added to the amount you owe.

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The court can assess your finances at a hearing

The creditor can apply for a hearing to find out more about how you can pay the debt. The court will order you to appear at a specific date, time and location. You must attend this hearing unless you pay the full debt before the hearing.

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You will get a summons

The summons will tell you to come to the hearing and when it is. It can be served to you by:

  • the creditor
  • their agent
  • a bailiff.

It can be served on you personally or it can be left with someone (who appears to be over the age of 14 years) at your home or work address.

If you don't attend this hearing, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest.

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At the hearing

Your financial situation will be assessed by a deputy registrar. The creditor may also be at the hearing. You should bring information about your finances with you to the hearing. This could include:

  • bank statements
  • payslips
  • evidence of expenses
  • anything else you think might be helpful.

After assessing your finances the registrar can:

  • set out new payment instructions or
  • set a court enforcement action, for example:
    • payments made from your income (attachment order) or
    • your property taken and sold (warrant to seize property).

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Contempt of enforcement: if you don’t follow the court order

If a registrar makes an order after the financial assessment telling you how to pay, and you have the money to pay but you don’t, you are in breach of a court order. The creditor can then apply for an order saying that you are in contempt of enforcement.

A judge will look into the matter and:

  • the judge can order you to do up to 200 hours of community work
  • you still have to pay the debt.

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