Means inquiry - Car crashes

car crash self-help guide logoA means inquiry is conducted by the court to determine the judgment debtor’s ability to pay the judgment debt. It looks at their income, assets and liabilities (other debts they owe).

The means inquiry is usually held at the same court where the original judgment was made.

The judgment creditor is normally the person who asks the court for a means inquiry. The judgment debtor can apply for a means inquiry if they have asked the court to stop the judgment being enforced because they are unable to pay the judgment debt.

How to apply for a means inquiry 

To apply for a means inquiry, you will need to fill in and lodge with the court:

  • a Form 6 'Application or request to a court', if you are the judgment creditor, or
  • a Form 12 'Application for a means inquiry', if you are the judgment debtor and have applied for a suspension order on the basis that you cannot pay the judgment debt.  

What to bring to a means inquiry

The judgment debtor will need to complete a statement of financial affairs before the hearing. They must bring the statement of financial affairs and any other documents that help prove their income, debts and the value of their assets. 

Warning!

The judgment debtor must attend the means inquiry. If they do not, the court may serve a warrant for their arrest. They may be brought before the court and may be found in contempt of court if they do not have a good reason for missing the hearing. If the judgment debtor does not provide the correct information in a means inquiry, they risk being fined by the court.

What about Centrelink payments?

Centrelink income is protected under social security laws. This means the judgment debtor cannot be forced to pay a judgment from Centrelink income. (There are exceptions for judgment debts owing to some government departments.)

 

Useful documents

Magistrates Court of WA

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The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.