There are two broad types of civil claims that can be brought in the District Court:
(a) claims for damages in respect of the death or personal injury of a person; and
(b) other personal actions where the amount, value or damages sought to be recovered (not including interest) is not more than $750,000.
Person actions include claims for breach of contract and debt recovery actions.
For more specific information on the types of actions that may be commenced in the District Court, see District Court of Western Australia Act 1969 (WA).
The party who commences a general civil case is called the ‘plaintiff’.
The person against whom the action is brought is called the ‘defendant’.
There may be more than one plaintiff and more than one defendant, in which case they will be referred to as the second plaintiff or second defendant, or third plaintiff and so on.
In some cases, the defendant wants to bring in a further party so that all issues in the dispute can be determined at the one hearing.
A general civil case will usually proceed along the following lines:
For every 100 actions that are commenced, only 2 or 3 will proceed to trial. The vast majority settle prior to the allocation of a trial date.
The Court aims to hold the trial in a civil case within 12 months of commencement.
The information set out above provides a general overview only as to the procedure of the District Court. The procedure of the Court is set out in the following legislation:
The Rules of the Supreme Court apply to the District Court unless the District Court Rules set out a different procedure.
There is also more detailed guidance in the Practice Directions and Circulars to Practitioners contained on this website.
The Court has published a Procedure Guide to assist litigants to understand the practice and procedure of the District Court. Click here to download a copy of the Procedure Guide and here to download pdf copies of the annexures in the Procedure Guide.
The documents which a party must file to run or defend a general civil claim must be in the form set out in the Rules of the Supreme Court 1971 (“RSC”) and the District Court Rules 2005 (WA) (“DCR”). The main documents required to be filed are set out in the following table :
Blank pro forma
|Writ||Form 1 RSC||Writ example|
|Memorandum of appearance||Form 6 RSC||Memorandum of appearance example - this document is currently under review|
|Statement of claim||
|Statement of claim example|
|Default judgment||Form 32 RSC|
|Affidavit||DCR Form 1A||Affidavit Example|
|Chamber summons||RSC Form 77||Chamber summons example|
|Form 17 RSC||List of documents example|
|Affidavit verifying list of documents||Form 18 RSC||Affidavit verifying list of documents example|
|Minute of proposed orders||
|Minute of proposed orders example|
|Consent order example|
|Form 1 DCR||Entry for trial example|
|Subpoena to attend||Form 22 RSC||Subpoena to attend example|
The information on this website should not be relied on as a substitute for legal advice. Any person commencing or defending an action in the District Court is advised to seek legal advice on the merits of their claim (or defence) and the procedure of the District Court.
Last updated: 14-Dec-2016
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