When civil proceedings are commenced by the filing and service of an originating process (i.e. a statement of claim or summons) a Defendant must, before they can take any steps to defend the claim, file and serve an Appearance. An Appearance is a document that informs the Court and the other party of an intention to defend the claim that has been made against you.
In NSW, rule 6.1 of the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules 2005 (NSW) enshrines the rule that no steps can be taken (unless by leave of the Court) without an Appearance being filed and served.
Once the Appearance has been filed and served the Defendant can now take further steps in the proceedings which include:
- Appearing in Court; and
- Filing a Defence.
Failure to file an Appearance, despite being served with an originating process, is an indication to the Court that you do not intend to defend the claim against you and default judgment may be entered against you as a result.