What to Know about Making a Small Claims Court in Ontario
Background Information on Small Claims Court in Ontario
In Ontario, Canada, the Small Claims Court is one of the branches of the Superior Court of Justice. The Small Claims Court in Ontario deals with various civil disputes that have equivalent monetary values that do not exceed $25,000 (Canadian dollars).
This amount includes the monetary value of goods that the claimant or plaintiff requests in total, regardless of the number of defendants. For a claim that is more than the limit of $25,000, it can still be pursued in Ontario’s small claim court, but any value beyond the limit will be given up. Furthermore, the future right to obtain this money will be forfeited as well. Also, the claim cannot be divided up between separate cases.
Cases that can be filed in Small Claims Court in Ontario include the following:
Claims for unpaid money under certain agreements such as services or goods sold and delivered, loans, rent, checks
Damages for clothing from a dry cleaner, property, breach of contract, personal injuries
Cost of Bringing a Case to Small Claims Court in Ontario
In order to bring a case forth, an individual must pay a minimal fee in order to file the claim as well as a fee for many steps in the court process, such as requesting a trial date, filing motions, or enforcing judgment. The amount of steps varies depending on the case. Contact a small claims court lawyer to consult your case.
Furthermore, there are also fees in Small Claims Court to a witness who has been summoned for their travel expenses and attendance. Other fees can be added when necessary, for example, for interpreters. In certain circumstances, a fee can be waived depending on the individual’s financial circumstances.
A Typical Protocol in Small Claims Court in Ontario
In a typical small claim, the general procedure is as follows
The defendant first fills out a Form 7A, or the Small Claims Court Plaintiff’s Claim, and either mails it or brings it in person to the court office to have it filed. Here the claimant makes a claim and brings the original claim form as well as supporting documents, pays the filing fees, and has the claim served. From there the defendant has 20 days to file a defense.
If the defendant does not agree with the claim, he or she should then fill out Form 9A, the Defense form, indicating the opposing perspective. This form is then filed upon paying a filing fee. A copy of this form is served to the claimant.
The Settlement Conference
The two opposing parties both receive notices in the mail to come to a settlement conference where thy receive Form 13A, the blank list of Proposed Witnesses, which must be filed at least 2 weeks before the settlement conference. At the actual conference, the parties both get a chance to discuss the case. If they cannot agree on an action, the case proceeds with a trial. Alternatively, the case may come to a settlement before that.
The trial of the Small Claims Court is where the Judge can make a decision about the case at hand. Based on the results of the case, certain steps are taken to either end the case or receive payment.
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