Defending a legal action

If you have received legal documents and have decided to defend yourself without legal representation, you'll need to be familiar with the Supreme Court rules and legislation.

If you are going to defend yourself in a matter in the Court of Appeal, the Self-represented Litigants Information Pack may assist you. 

It is always best to try to settle your legal problem outside of the courts if possible. Defending a legal action can be very expensive and time consuming. Generally, the party who loses will be made to pay the other side's legal expenses and costs.


Defending an action brought by writ or originating motion

A writ or originating motion is a legal document that claims that a dispute has occurred and outlines a legal remedy to resolve it, which a person produces and files with the Court to start a court action.

If you have been served with a writ or an originating motion that names you in a legal dispute and you wish to represent yourself, you will need to file a 'notice of appearance' and a 'notice of defence'.


Filing a Notice of appearance

You will need to file and serve a 'Notice of Appearance ' Form 8A' within 10 days of the writ begin served on you ' but this may change if you live outside of Victoria. To avoid confusion, the time limit for filing will be recorded on the writ or originating motion.

If you don't file a notice of appearance the person who has commenced the legal proceeding may ask the Court to grant the judgment or orders they have requested, without any further notice to you.


Notice of defence

After filing your notice of appearance, you will then have 30 days within which to file and serve a 'Notice of Defence - Form' (External link). You will need to think carefully about what your defence to your opponent's claim will be.

More information on representing yourself

We can help you with information about starting an action and appealing a decision you may be unhappy with.