Claims you can take to civil court

Cases are brought to the civil court by individuals or organisations and sometimes local or central government to help settle a dispute. Civil cases are usually about people’s rights.

Generally, civil cases are not about breaking a criminal law. Criminal cases are brought to the court by the state or government to maintain law and order to protect society.

Examples of civil court cases

Civil court cases can be about:

  • disputes over business contracts or debts, including insolvency
  • disputes between neighbours
  • contracts
  • civil wrongs to people and property (called ‘torts’), such as negligence and nuisance
  • family proceedings
  • administrative law matters, such as appeals against decisions made by the Immigration Service.

Examples for Disputes Tribunal, District Court & High Court

Disputes Tribunal

The Disputes Tribunal hears claims that are for less than $15,000 (or $20,000 if both sides agree).

Find out more about the types of disputes the Disputes Tribunal can help you with (external link)

District Court

The District Court hears civil claims for less than $350,000. The claims often involve arguments over money and property and can include complex commercial transactions.

Find out more about the types of civil cases you can take to the District Court

High Court

The High Court hears civil claims that are complex or for over $350,000. The claims often look at issues like company law, bankruptcy, the administration of estates and trusts, property transfer and land valuation.

Find out more about the types of civil cases you can take to the High Court

Legal advice & help

You might want to talk to a lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer you may be able to get:

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