Small Claims Court In Ontario
The Rules of the Small Claims Court no longer favour the self represented litigant.
- Owed money and can’t collect?
- Are you being sued unjustly?
- Need to sue on that outstanding account or bad cheque your business received?
We provide both an economy package for the preparation of your documents so you can ‘do it yourself’ to complete representation taking you from the commencement of your action to a professional completion of your trial and collection of what is owed to you. Our initial consultation is $200 plus HST and will put you on the path to recovery. We pride ourselves on telling you up front whether in our opinion you have a case and secondly, once you have that Judgment in hand, whether you will have a reasonable chance of collecting it. Judgments in Ontario are good for twenty years and may be enforced by garnishee of wages, seizure of bank accounts or property, and a lien against lands.
A legal action in Small Claims Court is commenced by a Plaintiff’s Claim.
This document sets out the names and addresses of the people, or in court called the “parties”. The party bringing the action is the Plaintiff, the party being sued is the Defendant. A Plaintiff’s Claim tells the story of who, when, where and why as well as the amount of compensation the aggrieved party is seeking. It must contain sufficient details that the person or company being sued may understand and reply.
Documents supporting the claim, such as contracts, invoices, photographs, police reports, cancelled cheques and promissory notes should also be attached. Once your Plaintiff’s Claim is ready, you need to take three copies to the courthouse and pay $75.00 to have it issued. Sometimes the courthouse where you happen to live is not the courthouse where the action should be commenced.
The Rules need to be consulted to determine which courthouse should be used. When your claim is issued by the Clerk of the Court, you will be given copies to serve on the Defendant. There are several methods of service, but the most common is to go and hand it to the person. Afterwards an Affidavit of Service needs to be prepared and filed with the Court.
If you are the Defendant, once you have received the Plaintiff’s Claim, you have twenty days to hire a representative and file a Defence. This document tells the court why you think you either don’t owe the money, or if you agree you owe some, if not all, the money claimed. Depending on what the Defence contains, the law suit may proceed to a Settlement Conference or a Terms Hearing, both requiring the parties to appear in court on a date and time set by the Court Clerk.
Each of these court appearances require different forms to be completed, served and filed with Affidavits of Service. See List of Proposed Witnesses and Financial Information. We are experts in the preparation of all Small Claims Court documents and can navigate you quickly through the court system to successfully conclude your law suit, or defend you against legal action.