Please consult a qualified legal adviser before acting on the advice provided on this web page.

​This is the best web page that aids you to take IDP to the small claims court in Australia.

Download this page as a PDF PowerPoint

The British Council fails to appear in court in India and loses the case: IELTS student victory

​​Language testing providers such as IELTS and Pearson are subject to the same laws in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom as other bodies that sell goods and services.

If you are not happy with the way that a global language provider has dealt with your appeal and grievance, you may consider taking action at a local small claims court in the relevant jurisdiction.


In most jurisdictions, the small claims court has many advantages. Examples may include: 

  • The application cost is small - generally less than AUD$50 and it may be cheaper for students
  • You do not need to have a strong knowledge of the law to present the facts
  • You do not need to appoint a lawyer/attorney
  • The court may forbid the other party (e.g. IELTS) from using a lawyer/attorney to defend them
  • You will not be required to pay any costs if you lose your case
  • If the other party refuses to attend, you will probably win your case by default.

Applying to the small claims court may cause a language provider to take another look at your exam scores and how you have been treated. It is in their interests to do so. The language tester does not want to send a staff member to court if they can fix a genuine mistake that they have made prior your court case.

Informal advice

  • Act in good faith - do not waste the court's time with petty or malicious claims 
  • Consult a qualified legal officer prior to lodging your application with the small claims court
  • Carefully consider your legal argument prior to attending court
  • Bring all original evidence such as emails, registration forms, TRF, witness statements etc.
  • Use Freedom of Information laws and Privacy Laws to obtain details about your language testing scores and details about your language testing file.

Free legal advice

You may be able to obtain free legal advice from one or more of the following sources:

  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • A consumer affairs hotline (Government)
  • Legal aid for low income earners (Government)
  • The legal officer on campus at your student union

Freedom of Information Laws and Privacy Laws


New Zealand


Application form

It is advisable to provide minimal facts of the case on your court application form if you prefer to have your case heard in court. If you provide too much detail, your case may be decided in your absence behind closed doors and the judge may not have access to all relevant facts. 

This hypothetical example shows the minimum amount of factual detail that may suffice:

"The language provider has breached local consumer protection laws and anti-discrimination laws and will not rectify this injustice in response to a complaint that I have lodged with them".

Legal argument

Examples of legal arguments relevant to your case may include:

  • Fraud
  • Intimidation
  • Harrassment
  • Discrimination
  • Unconscionable conduct
  • Misleading and deceptive conduct
  • Failure to address, consider or disclose all relevant facts related to your grievance​.

In some legal jurisdictions, it is unlawful for a language tester to refuse to sell you a service because you refuse to provide private demographic data (such as your first language) that is not relevant.



New Zealand



British Columbia


United Kingdom


Legal outcomes

Please be clear what outcome you would like the court to order on your behalf.

It is unlikely that a small claims court will force the language tester to change your grade. You may succeed in receiving one or more of the following outcomes. The court may order the language testing provider to:

  • Refund your money
  • Remark your assessments at no cost to yourself
  • Offer compensation for your suffering and financial losses
  • Make your examination content available to yourself, the court or an independent assessor.

The bigger picture

Try to see your application to the court as part of a bigger process in the pursuit of justice, even if you are not successful. If thousands of people appeal to the small courts and they are all making the same claims, it becomes difficult for the court, the public, the media and public regulators to ignore what is happening.




 The      ree  School