A member asked almost 8 years ago

My ex threw out my tools

Hi there, 

I broke up with my partner in August. It was a long distance relationship. I was in the process of moving to her local area and storing tools and car parts in her shed. The relationship became impossible to continue and eventually broke down, to which she became very angry and threatened to burn all my things. I did not think this was ever a possibility, but two days later she admitted that she took a heap of boxes and dropped them outside of Vinnies. I have since noted that there is close to $2000.00 worth of my possessions missing, I made a statement with the police immediately after. How can I get my money back? 

Law Advisor Research Team
Researchers at LawAdvisor

Hi there. It sounds like you are in a difficult position. Your former partner may have committed a criminal offence by taking your property and donating it to a third party (i.e. a charity organisation) without your consent. This conduct is likely to be a type of theft under NSW criminal law. Only the police are capable of prosecuting a crime, so it is up to the police to decide whether they have enough evidence to press charges against your former partner. You can speak to the police officer who took your statement about whether they intend to press charges. If so, you may be required to provide additional evidence as part of their investigation or prosecution.

Any criminal proceeding will not affect your right to bring a civil claim for compensation against your former partner. A civil claim is a legal proceeding between two private individuals, typically for compensation, and does not involve the police. You may have a civil claim against your former partner for the tort of “conversion”. This refers to a legal claim against a person who has dealt with another’s property in a way that is inconsistent with the rights of the true owner (e.g. donating property to a third party without the owner’s consent).

You would need to make this civil claim in the Small Claims Division of the NSW Local Court (www.localcourt.justice.nsw.gov.au). The Small Claims Division is less formal than ordinary court and is designed for claimants to represent themselves. Once you lodge your claim, a pre-trial review is undertaken before the court hearing. This is designed to bring the parties together to see if the matter can be resolved before undergoing a full hearing. If an outcome cannot be reached, the court will decide the matter.

Suggested way forward

You should speak to the police about any criminal charges to be laid against your former partner. If you want to make a civil claim, you may want to consider speaking to a lawyer who can advise you of the best course of action. By pressing the “Consult a Lawyer” button, LawAdvisor can help you search for experienced lawyers and obtain fee proposals for their services. Costs for legal advice and representation will vary between providers based on experience and the scope of services.

Answered over 7 years ago   Legal disclaimer

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