The Guides to Social Policy Law is a collection of publications designed to assist decision makers administering social policy law. The information contained in this publication is intended only as a guide to relevant legislation/policy. The information is accurate as at the date listed at the bottom of the page, but may be subject to change. To discuss individual circumstances please contact Services Australia.

5.4.2 The Registrar's power to bring proceedings


Once a registrable maintenance liability (5.1.2) is registered for collection by the Registrar, the amounts payable are debts due to the Commonwealth by the payer. Carer debts are also debts that are due to the Commonwealth under CSRC Act section 69B (5.5.5).

These debts are enforceable by the Registrar and may be recovered through court proceedings brought by either the Registrar or the payee. This chapter discusses the Registrar's power to bring proceedings. The payee's right to bring proceedings to recover debts is discussed in 5.4.7.

Act references

CSRC Act section 30, section 69B, section 113, section 117

Registrar's power to take recovery action

The Registrar's power to take recovery action in a court is based on CSRC Act section 113.

The Registrar can commence court action in any court having jurisdiction under the Act.

Representation of the Registrar in proceedings

In any enforcement action or prosecution under the CSRC Act or any action which arises out of the Act, the Registrar may be represented by (section 117):

  • a person enrolled as a barrister, solicitor or legal practitioner of a federal court or the Supreme Court of a state or territory, or
  • a person the Registrar or his delegate has authorised in writing to appear.

When a person appears in court proceedings and states that they appear by authority of the Registrar or his delegate, it is prima facie evidence that the person is authorised. The court will accept that the person is authorised unless there is evidence that the person is not authorised (section 117(2)). For information about authorisations, see 6.1.

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