Magistrates Court expert

My experience in the MAGISTRATES Court

As the author of the Magistrates Court 'Red Book' (shown on the right), I am able to provide confidence to litigants involved in a civil case in the Magistrates Court.

I have been a co-chair of a Law Society of WA committee which looked at ways of improving the Court's processes and is due to report soon.

I have been counsel for: 

  • claimants and defendants at numerous civil trials in the Court; and
  • appellants and respondents on appeals from the Magistrates Court to the District Court.


The Magistrates Court of Western Australia has its own rules. This is different to the Supreme and District Courts, which generally share the same set of rules.

Being aware of these unique procedural requirements is important to overall success in a case.  It ensures efficiency, because I have dealt with these unique procedures many times before and am able to call upon precedent cases and documents easily.

Click here for 7 reasons to hire Richard Graham for debt recovery.

Minor Cases Guide

Click on this link for a guide I have put together for the Minor Cases procedure in the Court.  I am working on this Guide bit-by-bit.  Every few weeks I will make additions to the Guide.

Need a debt recovery lawyer in WA?



  1. You get the expert on the civil jurisdiction of Magistrates Court of WA. You get a personal service - you don't get handed over to a junior lawyer. You are not just choosing a law firm, without knowing which individual lawyer will be doing the work. Instead you are choosing your lawyer from the 'get go'.
  2. You only get charged the 'scale rate'.  Something rare amongst lawyers in Western Australia.
  3. It is easy to communicate with us.  We encourage the use of Skype, for face-to-face communication.
  4. We use the most up-to-date technology, including Dragon Naturally Speaking voice recognition for drafting documents. This minimises costs, whilst reducing turn-around time for documents.
  5. We do not need to use barristers for any court appearances or trials that may be required.  Richard Graham does this work instead - which eliminates the risk of any duplication of work / legal fees for hiring a barrister.  Richard Graham can do any appeals himself, if necessary, as well.
  6. You do not pay commission fees to a debt collection agency, in addition to your lawyer's fees.  If your debt collection agency is referring you to a lawyer, or using in-house lawyers, to 'go legal', first check if they are going to charge a percentage commission on what you recover. With us, you don't pay commission to a debt collector on top of your legal costs.
  7. Richard Graham takes a methodical / smart approach to the debt recovery process - assessing settlement options and likelihood of recovery - with the 'end in mind'.
Photo by pepifoto/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by pepifoto/iStock / Getty Images

Premium Debt Recovery service

When you use a lawyer, debtors realise you are serious.

When assessing the pros and cons of using a lawyer, consider these 3 points:

  1. A debt collector cannot start a court case.
  2. You usually pay a percentage commission on the debt to the debt collector. This could be more expensive than paying legal fees to a lawyer.
  3. With a lawyer, you negotiate with the debtor from a strong position.

Our fees. We offer a fixed-fee arrangement. You get certainty about your legal costs. Download a sample of our fixed-fee legal costs spreadsheet.
  We provide this document when you first contact us. It varies based on how much the debt is. 
  We limit our hourly rates to the 'scale rate'. To use the legal vocabulary, this is known as the 'applicable costs determination'.  You can download a copy here.  Few other lawyers do this.

Our expertise. Your case will be handled personally by Richard Graham, an expert in Magistrates Court of Western Australia cases.  Richard will be assisted by junior lawyers and law clerks, but will do all Court appearances and pre-trial conferences himself.  Read this article about the costs of inexperience in the debt recovery process.

Letter of demand. If you wish, we can issue a letter of demand to the debtor first, so you can assess how the debtor responds before you commit to a Court case. We charge a standard fee of $100 (plus GST).

When to use us. Our service is most appropriate where any of the 5 following criteria apply:

  1. The debt is for more than $10,000.
  2. Irrespective of the size of the debt, you have a 'zero tolerance' policy to people not paying your bills.
  3. The debt collector is telling you to 'go legal'.  If the debt collector handles the process for you, your contract says you still pay a percentage to the debt collector, plus legal fees to the lawyer. So why not cut out the 'middle-man' and just hire a lawyer yourself.
  4. There are insolvency issues with the debtor. This could mean being able to personally pursue the director(s) if the debtor is a company.
  5. There is a personal guarantee from the director(s) of the debtor company.

Read this example about how you can save money going direct to a lawyer.

What motivates a debtor to pay.  Our expertise working in the Magistrates Court of WA has taught us a lot about what motivates debtors.  

Debtors usually know about the limitations of debt collectors. They do their research. 

Debtors get worried when:

  • You have a smart, experienced and tough lawyer.
  • The court case will be listed on their credit history, affecting their ability to borrow money from banks and lenders.
  • They could face bankruptcy and the bailiff knocking on their door.
  • They are likely to have to pay the debt back - with interest - plus legal fees to you.

Next step.  Call (08) 9328 5999 or email Richard Graham if you would like to use this service. There is no fee for the initial phone call. Read more about what to expect during the first call.

More info about us. Click here to read more about our law firm.

Photo by BrianAJackson/iStock / Getty Images