I want to start a case

If you choose to start your case in the County Court of Victoria, this page will provide you with information on what steps to take.

The documents you file when you start a case define the issues in your case and will need to comply with the court rules.

If you want to start a case on behalf of a company or corporation, without being represented by a lawyer, you will need to seek permission from the Court. To request the Court’s permission you will need to file an affidavit containing information that supports your request. For more information, visit I want to represent a corporation.

It is important you have a good understanding of what you will need to file with the Court. Failing to complete your documents correctly may result in the Court being unable to accept your documents.

Starting a civil matter will usually require you to provide the court with three copies of a:

  • writ or originating motion
  • statement of claim
  • overarching obligations certificate
  • proper basis certificate
  • request to enter a list.

Before your writ or originating motion can be accepted, you will need to pay a filing fee. Once your writ or originating motion is accepted, the Court will stamp the documents with the court seal and return copies to you for service.

For information about filing fees and forms visit the forms and fees pages.

Writ or origination motion

Most proceedings are started by filing a writ. An originating motion is used only when it is specifically required by law.

The rules that apply to filing and preparing a writ or originating motion are found under Orders 5 and 27 of the County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2008. These sections will help you understand some of the requirements of the forms and how they are treated by the Court, including why the Court may not be able to accept filing of the documents that are incorrectly completed.

Statement of claim

This is known as a pleading and will need to be filed with the writ. The statement of claim explains what you are claiming and the information that you are relying on to prove your case. When you file your statement of claim it will need to:

  • set out the cause of action (the legal basis for your claim)
  • set out each fact which supports your claim in a separate numbered paragraph
  • set out what action or penalty you want the Court to make in your favour.

To find out more about pleadings, refer to Order 13 of the County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2008.

Certifications

The Civil Procedure Act 2010 provides for an overarching purpose to facilitate the just, efficient, timely and cost-effective resolution of the real issues in dispute.

Overarching Obligations Certification Form

When you sign this form you are confirming you have read and understand your obligations to the court and to the other parties. Before starting a case, you are required to try to resolve the dispute.

It is important that you:

  • act honestly at all times
  • not make a claim or defence without a proper basis
  • do not mislead or lie
  • ensure the costs are reasonable and proportionate
  • minimise delay
  • let the other party know about any documents critical to the dispute
  • co-operate with the other party and the Court.

If you do not comply with your obligations you may be penalised. The penalties may include costs being ordered against you or your claim being dismissed.

Once you have read and understood your overarching obligations, you will need to complete, sign and file the overarching obligations certification form 4A with the Court.

For more information, refer to section 41 of the Civil Procedure Act 2010 .

Proper basis certification form

When you sign this form you are confirming that your claim is genuine.

When you file a writ or statement of claim you must certify it has a proper basis using the proper basis certification form 4B.

If you do not file a proper basis certification it may result in your claim being dismissed or costs being awarded against you.

For more information, refer to section 42 of the Civil Procedure Act 2010.

Request to enter a list

Court hearings are organised into divisions and lists according to the area of law your claim falls under (commercial or common law). A request to enter a list form must be completed and filed with a writ. You will need to sign this form and tick one box that is relevant to your claim.

The information on this page relates to proceedings in the court’s Commercial or Common Law Divisions. If your matter is in the Criminal Division, visit our Criminal Division page.

For an explanation of common legal terms and phrases, please see our glossary.

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Page last updated: 20 September 2018