Visit our archive

Small Claims Courts in Ontario have the jurisdiction to award up to $25,000. Given that Small Claims Courts offer a simpler, faster and less formal process, this makes the Small Claims Court a great avenue to recover damages. Here is some basic information, though your Small Claims Court Lawyer can explain in more detail.

Even if the amount to be recovered is above the legislated maximum, there are many reasons to consider lowering the amount in order to stay within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court. Your Small Claims Court lawyer can discuss these and other important considerations with you before you move forward.

There are essentially three stages to a normal Small Claims Court matter. First, a Claim is filed by a “Plaintiff” against a “Defendant” for a certain amount of “Damages” in one of the Small Claims Court offices.  The Claim should include the ‘whole story’, and any evidence required for the Defendant to respond (and for a judge to understand). Either party may or may not including a Small Claims Court lawyer.

Full instructions on how and where to file can be found in an extensive guide provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General. If you have not retained a Small Claims Court Lawyer then you may want to read it all, including Before Making a Claim in Small Claims Court and the Small Claims Court Guides to Procedures. A Plaintiff should be careful to file in the correct city based on the Rules.

Next, a Defence is filed by the Defendant in which arguments against a judgment are made. The Plaintiff then has an opportunity to reply to the Defence, otherwise a Settlement Conference will be scheduled by the Clerk of the Small Claims Court. At the Settlement Conference the parties will attempt to negotiate a settlement, failing which the Clerk of the Small Claims Court will schedule a Trial.

While the process of Small Claims Court is considerably more simple than that of higher-level Courts, there are many legal and strategic considerations to be made. Your Small Claims Court lawyer can help you understand your position and devise a strategy that works for you.

  • Name (Required)

  • Email (Required, but not published)

  • Url (Optional)

  • Comment (Required)