With a claim limit of $25,000, Small Claims Court can still be daunting. We can represent you or give you advice in defending or prosecuting a claim.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
There are a number of advantages that having an experienced Small Claims Court lawyer or paralegal may have over representing yourself. Even though the processes in the Small Claims Court are simpler than in the higher level Superior Court, navigating through the procedural requirements can still be challenging, and dealing with the other party say be stressful. Presenting evidence effectively and making the most persuasive arguments are what legal representatives are trained to do. Experience in these areas and knowledge of the law can make the difference between winning and losing.
Steps in a Small Claims Court
Here is a brief outline of the general steps involved in a Small Claims Court matter. This is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for legal advice.
To start a lawsuit (called an action), a plaintiff completes a form called a Claim, submits it to the appropriate Court (in Ottawa there is a Small Claims counter) and serves it personally on the defendant(s). The action usually has to be started within two years of the loss suffered, or else you may be out of time.
Once a Claim is served on the defendant(s), they have twenty days to file a Defence with the Court. They may also bring a claim against the plaintiff if it relates to the same events in the form of a Defendant’s Claim.
Before a trial is held, the Court will schedule a Settlement Conference in which the parties are required to attend and explore the possibility of settling the matter. If settlement does not occur, the Plaintiff can ask the Court to set the action for trial.
The entire process can take between 9-12 months, and depends in part on how busy the Court is.
We can Help
We can deal with demand letters, draft the Claim or Defence, fill out forms, correspond
with the other side to attempt to settle, represent you at the Settlement Conference, and
If the amount of the claim at stake is modest, and retaining us for full representation from start to finish is not cost-effective, you might benefit from getting an opinion about your case, advice and explanation of the Court’s procedures, and more limited assistance with any of the steps involved in the litigation.
For further information about the Small Claims Court, visit the Court Services Division of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General online: www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/english/scc