Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court
The list of reasons to make a claim in Small Claims Court could go on forever and although you do not need a lawyer or paralegal when you go to Small Claims Court, to have a knowledgeable and experienced party to defend your case is a good idea. Remember, BP Paralegal Services is always ready to help you with your Small Claims Court matter. The information below, that we have gathered especially for you, will assure you that dealing with Small Claims Court claim is complicated and often is overwhelming even for seasoned professionals.
Reasons for Making a Claim in Small Claims Court
- Your customer does not want to pay the invoice for services that you have rendered to them
- A year has passed and your friend has not returned the money you lent them
- You think you were wrongfully dismissed
- You paid for a professional service and you did not receive that service
Do not make a mistake! Save your time, money and nerves!
Let BP Paralegal Services do their job while you are doing yours!
Remember, the other party is able to respond to your claim and may give evidence that will affect the judge’s view of your small claims court case.
Small Claims Court
In Ontario, the Small Claims Court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice. The small claims courts are meant to be an easier and less expensive way to resolve disputes, than in the higher courts. Small Claims Court procedure is regulated both by provincial legislation and rules. Small claims procedure is simplified with no strict pleadings requirements, no formal discovery process and parties costs may be limited. For example, the forms in Small Claims Court use a fill-in-the-blank style. The person or business starting the case is called the plaintiff. The person or business being sued is called the defendant.
Small Claims Court is now an option for Ontarians and businesses with monetary disputes up to $25,000. Previously, it was only available for disputes up to $10,000. In Small Claims Court you can only sue for money or the return of personal property. If the amount of your claim is more than $25,000, you cannot, for example, divide $30,000 into a $25,000 claim and a $5,000 claim in order to have the total amount dealt with in two cases.
If the amount of your claim is more than $25,000, you can still go to Small Claims Court, BUT:
- You will have to give up any money that you are owed over $25,000.
- You will have to give up your right to sue for this money in any other court.
Remember, if the case is less than $500, you cannot make a claim in Small Claims Court!
Types Of Small Claims Court Disputes
The Small Claims Court can handle any action for the payment of money or the recovery of possession of personal property where the amount claimed does not exceed $25,000, excluding interest and costs such as court fees.
The Small Claims Court hears disputes on a wide range of matters:
- contracts for goods and services
- debt collection
- damage to real and personal property
- services rendered
- professional malpractice and negligence
- tort actions (wrongful acts that result in damages or injury)
- consumer issues
- unpaid invoice/accounts for goods or services sold and delivered
- Landlord/Tenant disputes (rent arrears, unpaid utility bills, damage to rental property)
Disputes involving title to property or land, slander, libel, bankruptcy, false imprisonment or malicious prosecution must be handled in a superior court and cannot be determined in small claims courts.
After Receiving A Small Claims Court Judgement
Some people think that when the trial is over and the judge’s decision is made or a default judgment is obtained, the successful party will automatically be paid by the debtor and that is the end of the case. A judgment is an order of the court; it is not a guarantee of payment.
If you are the plaintiff and you win the case you become the creditor, you may still have to take further steps to get the money or property from the defendant who becomes the debtor. If the debtor does not pay, there are legal steps called enforcing the judgment. You have two options for trying to get the money:
- Garnishment: You can have the court order someone else who owes the debtor money to give it to you instead of to the debtor. For example, the debtor may be receiving wages from an employer or may have money in the bank. You can ask the court to make the debtor’s employer or bank pay this money to the court. The court will then pay you.
- Seizure and sale of property or land: If the debtor does not pay, you can have certain belongings seized. The enforcement office will seize the goods or land and sell them at a public auction. The enforcement office will pay the amount received for the goods to the court. Part of this money will be used to pay the court back for costs like storing the goods and advertising the sale. You will receive the money that is left over, but not more than you are owed. Selling the debtor’s land involves a lot of paper work and a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Land is not usually used for a lawsuit in Small Claims Court.
Reasons you can be sued
- The plaintiff may think you owe them money under an agreement they have with you.
- The plaintiff may think they have been harmed by something you did or should have done but didn’t and they want money to make up for the loss.
- The plaintiff may think you have property that belongs to them.
In all these cases and in other cases where the plaintiff wants no more than $25,000 you can be sued in Small Claims Court.
You should not ignore the lawsuit in Small Claims Court. If you ignore the lawsuit the court will think the plaintiff is right about the facts. If you don’t reply, the case will go on without you. You will not have a chance to defend yourself and tell your side of the story.
You can also make a claim of your own against the plaintiff. This is called a Defendant’s Claim. For example, the plaintiff may owe you money. Or you may believe someone else caused the plaintiff’s loss and that person should pay instead of you.
Resources And Guides For Small Claims Court Matters
The Ministry of the Attorney General has a series of guides to Small Claims Court procedures which are available at court offices and the Ministry of the Attorney General website at www.ontario.ca/attorneygeneral
Small Claims Court forms are available at court offices and at the following website: www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca
Note: court staff cannot provide you with legal advice or help you to complete all necessary forms. Do not rely on information from relatives and friends, unless they are lawyers or licensed paralegals with the Law Society of Upper Canada. The small claims court process is a very time consuming and difficult process to navigate your way through. If you are concerned or feel uncomfortable, trying to attempt this process without representation can make for a challenging task.
Please remember, BP Paralegal Services is here to help you with your case and can always represent you in Small Claims Court. BP Paralegal Services provides paralegal services for small claims courts in all of Ontario.
CALL OR EMAIL BP PARALEGAL SERVICES FOR ALL YOUR SMALL CLAIMS COURT NEEDS TODAY!
TELEPHONE: (705) 719 – 7990