• County Court of Victoria
  • VIC

What is this resource?

This resource is for people in Victoria who want to apply for an instalment order after a judgement has been made against them in the County Court of Victoria.

This resource covers:

  • What is an instalment order?
  • What should I do before applying for an instalment order?
  • How do I apply for an instalment order?
  • What happens if the court makes an instalment order?

Throughout the resource there are links to documents and helpful additional resources which will assist you in taking the next steps in your matter. 

What is an instalment order?

You may apply for an instalment order in the County Court if you have been ordered to pay a sum of money to the other party in your legal matter, and you cannot afford to pay the full amount. An instalment order means you can pay off a debt and penalty interest by instalments, rather than paying a lump sum.


Debt: the amount the Court has ordered you to pay to the other party of your legal matter

Penalty Interest: an extra amount that is calculated as a percentage of the debt, which is paid on top of the debt.


If your application is granted, the Court will make an instalment order. This order will state the amount of each instalment that you must pay to the other party, and the dates that you must pay each instalment.

An instalment order will “stay” (pause) the order against you. However, any penalty interest added to the order will keep adding up while you are making payments on an instalment order. This might mean that you pay more over time, compared to paying in a lump sum.

You should also be aware that it is a serious problem if you “default” (not pay) on the instalments, if you can afford to pay them. This is because the Court can order that you be imprisoned for up to 40 days if you can afford to pay instalments but persistently and wilfully default on payments without a reasonable excuse.

If your instalment order application is refused, you are not allowed to make another application for three months. 

What should I do before applying for an instalment order?

The person or company who you have been ordered to pay is called the “judgement creditor”. You should contact the judgement creditor to try and agree on a payment plan for the debt, before you apply to the Court for an instalment order. 

If you and the judgement creditor can’t reach an agreement and you are considering applying for an instalment order, think about the following questions:

  • how much can you afford to pay per instalment, making sure that you take into account interest accruing (being added) on the debt?
  • will you be able to keep up with and follow the order you are proposing?
  • what is a reasonable timeframe within which the creditor could expect to receive full payment?

The purpose of an instalment order is to make sure the judgement creditor can recover the debt you owe them. It is likely that the Court will not grant your application if you ask for an instalment order that goes for too long or if the Court thinks that you will not be able to follow it. This is because these things will make it unlikely that the debt will be repaid.


You should speak to a financial counsellor for free and confidential help before you consider putting a payment plan to the judgement creditor or applying for an instalment order. 

The National Debt Helpline can help you find a financial counsellor.

How do I apply for an instalment order?

The process set out below is contained in Part II of the Judgement Debt Recovery Act 1984 (Vic) and Order 61 of the County Court Civil Procedure Rules 2018 (Vic).

Step 1: Get the documents you need together

You will need to complete a Form 61A – Application to Registrar for Order for Payment of Judgement Debt by Instalments. This document must contain the following information:

  • the total amount of money that still needs to be paid under the debt

  • the amount to be paid in each instalment

  • the frequency of instalments (for example, every month)

  • when the instalments will start

  • the ‘grounds’ for the application, stating the reasons why you are making the application and why you cannot pay the debt in a lump sum

  • the address for you and the person or company to whom you owe the money

  • a Form 72C – Affidavit of Financial Circumstances. An affidavit is a serious legal document used as evidence in Court. It must be made by one person in the presence of an authorised affidavit taker. By signing it, you agree that the information is true. It is a criminal offence to knowingly make an untrue statement in an affidavit. This affidavit must set out in full: your income, property and assets, debts, liabilities, and other financial obligations.

Common reasons for applications being refused include:

  • the instalment amount doesn’t cover the penalty interest portion of an order. You should make sure you are aware of the current penalty interest rate and factor this into your application.

  • the applicant has other assets (things you own) which could be sold off to pay off the debt. Ensure you consider your true financial position in proposing an order.

  • the offer is unrealistic because the debt will take too long to pay off. 

Step 2: Serve the documents

After you have completed the application and the affidavit of financial circumstances, you need to “serve” the documents by sending or delivering a copy of them to the other party. It must be served on the other party before it will be accepted by the Court. You can then complete the Affidavit of Service which is included in the Form 61A application

Please read the following documents carefully, as they provide important information and guidance on how to effect service:

Step 3: File the documents

You can file your documents in person at the County Court or by email at commercial.registry@countycourt.vic.gov.au

There is a filing fee associated with the application, which you can find at the County Court fee table. If you want to apply to the Court to waive (not charge) the fee, you will need to complete and file a Fee Waiver Application.


Step 4: Receive a decision

A Registrar at Court will make a decision based on the documents you have submitted, and then notify you and the judgement creditor of the outcome. You do not need to attend a hearing for your application at this stage. 

If you or the judgement creditor do not agree with the decision, you can file a notice of objection. The notice of objection must be filed within 14 days of the decision being made. The Court will then list a hearing before a Judge or Judicial Registrar and notify you of the date and time.

At the hearing, the Court will make a decision about the instalment order. If an instalment order was made before the hearing, the Court will decide whether to keep it the same, change it or remove it altogether. If an instalment order was refused before the hearing, the Court will decide whether or not it should make an instalment order.

What happens if the court makes an instalment order?

You must comply with the terms of an instalment order as you would any other judgement of the Court. 

If you do not pay the instalments as required there may be significant consequences. These consequences can include the stay (pause) on the order being lifted and as noted above, imprisonment.

More useful resources

Justice Connect operates a service which assists people representing themselves in the County Court of Victoria. If you would like to apply for assistance from the Service, please complete our application form

If you are struggling with debt, you can contact the National Debt Helpline for free and confidential financial counselling. The National Debt Helpline can be contacted on 1800 007 007 or via their website.


Do you need legal help?

You might be eligible for free legal help from our lawyers. Making an online application is the quickest and best way to apply for free legal help.

Apply now
Takes less than 8 minutes
(4.4 star rating)

More self-help resources

  This resource was last updated on 14 June 2023. This is legal information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should always contact a lawyer for advice specific to your situation. Please view our disclaimer for more information.

Was this page helpful?
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.