Debt Recovery Lawyers

Brander Smith McKnight recover over 75% of debts with a simple Letter of Demand.

We can help collect the money that is owed to you.

Our lawyers have extensive experience with debt recovery.  We understand the legal mechanisms and pride ourselves on our ability to negotiate and advocate for you and fight tirelessly, ensuring that no one takes advantage of you.

Letter of Demand

The first, fast and least expensive step is a letter of demand.  This is sent to the debtor and details the amount of the debt and under what circumstances the debt became due and payable.  It details when payment must occur and explains that if this does not occur there will be further legal action.  The lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight can prepare this letter within a few days.  In over 75% of cases this results in recovery of your debt.  A legal letter of demand written by a lawyer sends the clear message that you are serious and may commence further legal proceedings in the absence of payment.

Statement of Claim

The next step if payment is not received, is the issuing of a statement of claim. A statement of claim is a legal document that initiates legal proceedings, describes the course of action, the nature and often the amount of the claim.  This document is filed with court and subsequently served on the debtor, who is then referred to as the defendant.  Once the statement of claim is served on the defendant they have 28 days to file a defence.  This action often results in the defendant making a payment or entering into negotiations to avoid litigation.  However, if a defence is not filed by the defendant, BSM Lawyers can make an application for default judgement.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Default Judgement

A default judgement is a judgement awarded by the court, which is recorded on the defendant’s credit file and allows the plaintiff to enforce the judgement.


The vast majority of our debt recovery matters are successfully recovered without the need for litigation.  Litigation describes the court proceedings which briefly includes the preparation and service of evidence and the actual hearing of the matter by a judge or magistrate.  Each court has a different financial jurisdiction as set out below:

  • Debts for less than $20,000 are heard in the Small Claims Division of the Local Court.  Matters are heard by an assessor with limited formality, generally no cross examination.  The Small Claims Division has limited jurisdiction to award the recovery of legal costs.
  • Debts between $20,000 and $100,000 are heard in the General Division of the Local Court.  Matters are heard by a magistrate and the General Division has the jurisdiction to award legal costs to the successful party.
  • Debts between $100,000 and $750,000 are heard in the District Court.  These matters are heard by a District Court judge.
  • Debts over $750,000 are heard in the Supreme Court.  Matters are heard by judges known as justices of the Supreme Court.

The debt recovery lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight have extensive experience appearing in all of the jurisdictions above and advocating for you.  Generally our lawyers appear in court without the need for the additional expense of a barrister. Where a barrister is required, we have a panel of barristers that we can engage.

Enforcement of Judgement

Once you receive a judgement from the court, the defendant will usually pay you the judgement amount.  However in some circumstances the defendant refuses to pay.  If this occurs our debt recovery lawyers can develop a strategy using the available debt enforcement methods to recover your debt.

It is very useful to know that once you have obtained a judgement from the court, this judgement is valid and available for enforcement for 12 years.

Garnishee Orders

This is one of the methods of enforcing a judgement.  It is legislated by Part 8, division 3 the Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW).  These orders compel third parties that control funds of the debtor (the person who owes money) to pay money directly to the creditor (the person who is owed money).  Examples of third parties include the debtor’s bank and employer.  It is important to note that time limits apply to payments from garnishee orders.  These time limits change depending on the circumstances in which the order was made.  The debt recovery lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight can make an application to the court for the award of a garnishee order.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.


Bankruptcy is legislated by the Bankruptcy Act. 1966 (Cth) and applies to individuals (not companies).  Where a judgement debt is greater than $10,000, the debtor can be bankrupted for failure to make payment.  The process involves serving a bankruptcy notice on the debtor which provides the debtor with 21 days to make payment.  If the debtor fails to make payment, they have committed a failure of bankruptcy and the creditor may file a creditor’s petition to the Federal Court to make an order to bankrupt the debtor.  Once this order has been made a trustee in bankruptcy is appointed by the court to take control of the debtor’s assets and income.  The trustee will pay creditors from any funds in the bankrupt person’s estate. This method of enforcement is suitable when the debtor is an individual, not a company and the amount owed is a relatively large amount.


Insolvency is legislated by the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and applies to companies and not individuals.  Where a judgement debt is greater than $4,000, the judgment creditor may issue a statutory demand on the company.  A statutory demand is issued subject to section 459 E of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).  This provides a company with 21 days to make payment.  Generally in the absence of payment the company will be presumed to be insolvent.  The creditor may then apply to the court for the debtor company to be wound up in insolvency and a liquidator appointed to the company.  The liquidator will pay creditors from any funds available in the company.  This is a suitable method of enforcement when the debtor is a company.

Writ for Levy of Property

A writ for levy of property is an order made by the court and is legislated by section 106 of The Civil Procedure Act 2005 (NSW).  This order entitles the NSW sheriff to seize and sell property owned by the debtor to pay the judgment debt.  The property that may be seized includes money, goods or personal property of the debtor and where the judgement debt is greater than $10,000, real estate.  Property such as household essentials and tools of trade are exempt.  The writ for levy of property is enforced by the sheriff attending the debtor’s property and seizing their goods and property.  The powers and authority of the sheriff are legislated by the Sheriff Act 2005 (NSW).

We also act for Defended Matters

It is not uncommon for a claim to be made that is not payable or valid.  In those circumstances our lawyers have the experience and expertise to develop a legal defence and vigorously defend your matter.  Where a debt is not legally payable this can often be settled by negotation and correspondence by our highly effective and experienced lawyers.

Why BSM?

We have a team of experienced debt recovery lawyers with over 4o years of combined experience.  We have acted for some of the world’s best known companies and brands who have engaged us for our legal expertise over many years.  You can rest assured that we apply the same diligent, conscientious and tenacious approach to each and every matter, no matter how big or small.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

Our Locations


iconSuite 2
9-15 East Parade
Sutherland 2232

iconLevel 14 Suite 2/3 Parramatta Square, Macquarie St,
Parramatta, NSW 2150.

iconLevel 1, Suite 1
90 Market Street
Wollongong NSW 2500
Sydney CBD

iconMLC Centre
Level 57, 19-29 Martin Place
Sydney NSW 2000

Your Debt Recovery Legal Team

Mark Smith


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William Onishi

Senior Associate

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Sam Bailey

Senior Associate

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Rania Kassir

Senior Lawyer

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Kyle BSM Lawyer Sydney NSW

Kyle Dmoch


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Curtis Newbitt-Hill

Law Graduate

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Debt Recovery Legal Services