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By Hayley Hitch, a Senior Associate of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.

There has been a minimal increase in the costs associated with filing documents in the State’s Courts over the past 3 years whilst the country was dealing with the financial ramifications of COVID-19. However, a rise has been imminent.

The NSW Attorney-General has now considered the costs associated with commencing and running proceedings within the Courts of New South Wales and upon evaluating such costs has enacted the Civil Procedure Amendment (Fees) Regulation 2022 (NSW).

As of 1 April 2022, a number of court fees for the Local, District and Supreme Court of New South Wales have increased substantially. For example:

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Fee Prior to 1 April 2022 From 1 April 2022
Statement of Claim in the General Division of the Local Court of NSW by an individual $ 259 $ 300
Statement of Claim in the General Division of the Local Court of NSW by a company
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A PERMANENT INCREASE OF THE BANKRUPTCY THRESHOLD

By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Is having a judgment against a personal debtor enough to serve a bankruptcy notice and bankrupt the debtor? Can you make a debtor bankrupt by serving a bankruptcy notice? What else do you need to know to bankrupt a personal debtor?

A creditor serving a bankruptcy notice is the first step to potentially making a debtor bankrupt. The bankruptcy notice must be based on a judgment against a personal debtor in an Australia court and be less than 6 years old.

Can you bankrupt a debtor for a $5,000 judgment? Unfortunately for creditors, the debtor must owe $10,000 or more. This new permanent threshold may cause some confusion to creditors and debtors coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The debtor threshold had been $5,000 from 2010. However it was temporarily increased to $20,000 during the COVID-19 pandemic. This temporary threshold has since expired. The debtor threshold for bankruptcy notices has now increased to $10,000 from 1 January 2021.
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COLLECTING MONEY!

By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Finding trouble collecting money? Matthews Folbigg Lawyers understand how challenging and delicate collecting money can be – especially, when you are collecting money from someone you know or alternatively, collecting money from someone to whom you are still providing goods and/or services.

At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, we have demonstrated experience with collecting money from debtors who have had a business relationship breakdown with a creditor or alternatively, collecting money from debtors who continue to have business relationships with their creditors. Collecting money, no matter the dynamic between the creditor and debtor, can be a very delicate situation.

At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, we do not have a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to collecting money. We are happy to discuss and adopt strategies of collecting money that suits your relationship with the debtor.

We would be happy to assist you in collecting money from a debtor in the best way that suits you. We want to provide the best service to our clients for collecting money and are happy to personalise collecting money taking into account your preferences, situation and concerns. We understand that collecting money can be personal for different clients, when it comes to the choice of methods, language, processes and even the tone of communications for collecting money from a debtor. Engaging with Matthews Folbigg Lawyers will allow you to leave the job of collecting money to someone else whilst having the peace of mind that we are collecting money in a way suitable to you.
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Collecting Money: Which court should I pick?

By Bonnie McMahon an Associate of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

When collecting money from a debtor in NSW, it is important to ensure that you are collecting money in the right court.

  • Collecting money under $20,000 – When collecting money which is under $20,000, debt collection proceedings should be commenced in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court of NSW.
  • Collecting money over $20,000 but under $100,000 – When collecting money which is over $20,000 but under $100,000, debt collection proceedings should be commenced in the General Division of the Local Court of NSW. However, there are some circumstances where collecting money up to $120,000 can be done in the Local Court, although you will normally need the consent of the debtor.
  • Collecting money over $100,000 but under $750,000 – When collecting money which is over $100,000 but under $750,000, debt collection proceedings should be commenced in the District Court of NSW. However, like the Local Court, the District Court can hear debt collection matters up to $1,125,000, provided no party objects to the matter being heard in the District Court.
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KNOWING YOUR LIMITATIONS

By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your approach to debt collection? Have you deferred debt collection, or accepted payment arrangements on matters which you would have previously sent for debt collection? The last few years have certainly tested the limits of creditors’ willingness to defer debt collection. However with debt collection generosity comes the very real risk that some amounts may no longer be available for debt collection. When considering leniency with your debt collection, it is important to know your limitations.

This is because when it comes to debt collection, there is a point when debts may no longer legally be pursued. Therefore, it is important to be aware of when debt collection will be ‘statute barred.’

All states and territories in Australia have legislation which limit the recovery of various actions and claims. For instance the Limitation Act 1969 (NSW) sets out various limitation periods for different claims, including debt collection. Once the relevant limitation period has expired, this will, in turn, extinguish the debt, therefore, debt collection will no longer be possible.
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GREATER SYDNEY’S 2021 LOCKDOWN: WILL BUSINESSES SINK OR SWIM?

By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

Greater Sydney is currently in a lockdown and has remained in the dark with respect to whether, and when businesses would receive some relief.

Last year, the Federal Government introduced the JobKeeper scheme to assist with keeping businesses afloat (including employees within those businesses) through of the payment of wage subsidies subject to certain criteria.

The Morrison and Berejiklian Governments have announced that NSW businesses will finally receive some relief as we enter the fourth week of lockdown in NSW. It is evident that regardless of whether lockdown is in fact extended past 30 July 2021, businesses have already experienced a substantial hit. Should lockdown continue to be extended, we may see plenty of businesses struggling to make it through this lockdown.

On 13 July 2021, The Premier, Treasurer released some information regarding the new NSW COVID-19 support package, including the following:
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A DEBT COLLECTION AGENCY VERSUS A DEBT COLLECTION LAWYER

By Anica Cunanan, Solicitor at Matthews Folbigg in the Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group

The debt collection process is one which causes a lot of hesitation and frustration which can lead to a misunderstanding of what the key differences are between a debt collection agency and a debt collection lawyer.

Some creditors choose to handle such matters on their own whilst others choose to engage with a debt collection agency at first instance. That being said, engaging with a debt collection lawyer is a step which many avoid due to some misconceptions of how lawyers deal with the debt recovery process and by the same token, engaging a lawyer can seem daunting.

Well, what approach should you take and are there certain circumstances where one is more appropriate than the other?

There are various factors that need to be considered when deciding on whether to engage a debt collection agency or debt collection lawyer, such as:
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Creditor’s Statutory Demand Threshold: What It Is and How to Use It

By Kim Nguyen, Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.


On 15 February 2021, the Treasury released a consultation paper “Increasing the Statutory Demand Threshold” seeking submissions on the appropriateness and impacts of permanently increasing the statutory demand threshold. The consultation period expired on 5 March 2021, however, further information can be found here.

What were the temporary changes?

In response to COVID-19, Federal Parliament introduced insolvency reforms to support small businesses in financial distress.  In March 2020, the Government passed the Coronavirus Economic Response Package Omnibus Act 2020 (Cth) (Coronavirus Act) which temporarily:

  • Increased the statutory minimum debt(s) based on which a creditor can issue a statutory demand from $2,000 to $20,000;
  • Extended the period within which the company may respond from 21 days to six months.

The purpose of the reform was said to be to reduce the pressure upon companies that were struggling to pay their debts.
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