Small Claims Court
What is Small Claims Court?
The Ontario Small Claims Court is a branch of the Superior Court of Justice that focuses on monetary and property claims up to $25,000 (excluding interest and costs which may be awarded at trial). Small Claims Court is what most people think of when they hear court.
Small Claims can deal with almost any dispute and can reward money for damages, costs, and fees until the Small Claims Court monetary limit listed above. The Small Claims courts with the highest caseloads are in Toronto, Brampton, and Ottawa. There is not a court specifically in Scarborough or Mississauga, since those cases are heard in the Toronto Small Claims Court. Alternatively, Mississauga Small Claims Court cases may be heard in Brampton. The Small Claims Court may deal with claims that arise as a result of, and not excluding, the following:
- against a party that owes money
- for money owing for a service provided
- for damage caused by a car accident
- for breach of contract
- for construction / renovation
- for damage to property
- for negligence
- for professional malpractice
- for promissory notes
- for sale of goods-related proceedings
- for wrongful dismissal
What does Shevas do?
Shevas takes care of your claim, whether it is one that you made or one that you are responding to. This includes filing your claim or responding to your claim, scheduling and attending the trial of your claim, and every step in the middle. I take care of your case and keep you informed, so you can save your energy for other things.
If you are a plaintiff:
If you are an individual or you operate a company, and someone owes you money or has something which you believe is yours, you have a legal right to bring an action before the courts, specifically Small Claims. Having the right legal representation can make the experience smoother, since we would monitor and act upon all necessary steps throughout the Small Claims process. I, as your legal representative would help in the following aspects of your Small Claims case:
- negotiating/ demand letters in your case
- drafting legal documents, for example, the Plaintiff’s Claim
- filing forms with the court
- serving documents on the defendant(s) in your action
- attending settlement conferences, assessment hearings, motions, and trials in your action.
As a potential plaintiff, you should keep in mind that:
- The court may not be the first solution to your problem. As your legal representative, I will attempt to negotiate with the other party, in order to save you time and money by avoiding legal action in court.
- There is a limitation period for you to commence a proceeding in court.
- If your case is more than $25,000, and you are unsure whether to sue in the Small Claims Court, contact our office. I can estimate your expenses! When considering the Superior Court of Justice, note that court costs are higher and you would have to retain a lawyer, at which point your costs would significantly increase.
- Be cautious when dealing with a company! You must determine whether you are dealing with a sole proprietor, partnership or a corporation. I will help you determine that by conducting the right searches to determine the appropriate parties to the action.
- Determining where to file your claim is a crucial factor to the entire case. There are rules indicating where your case should be heard.
If you are a defendant:
Being a defendant to an action can be a very stressful and dreadful experience, especially the moment you find out that you are being sued. Having the right legal representation can make that experience less stressful, since I would monitor and act upon all of the necessary steps throughout the process. I, as your legal representative would be assisting you in the following aspects of your action:
- drafting legal documents, for example, the Defense or Defendant’s Claim
- filing forms with the court
- serving documents on the plaintiff(s) in the court
- attending settlement conferences, motions, and trials in the court
As a potential defendant, you should keep in mind that:
- There is always the possibility of settlement before you proceed to file the defense.
- There is a very short limitation period for you to file a defense in Court.
- Should the plaintiff be suing someone else altogether? Is there someone else that should be added as a party to this action in court?
Why should you go to court?
It is important to go to the Small Claims Court and file a claim because otherwise you are letting whoever wronged you, or bothered you, get away with it. In our world, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil” – meaning that if you don’t make noise, no one will pay attention to you or your needs.
It is important to go to the Small Claims Court to defend your claim, because if you don’t respond, you are letting them get away with what they are doing to you. This will cost a lot of money, since the other party will be able to continue the claim and get a judgement against you, and perhaps even garnish your wages without you knowing it. Make sure you don’t let them take your hard earned money!
Find the Small Claims Court near you
While Shevas Legal Services does it’s absolute best, remember that no legal adviser can ever make promises regarding court outcomes.
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