2. Affidavit of Service
3. Defence4. Defence with Proposed Terms of Payment
- Terms of Payment Hearing (Optional)
- Terms of Settlement
- Motion to vary terms of settlement
- Enforce judgment, or
- Appeal to Divisional Court
- Notice of default of payment
- Affidavit of service and Affidavit of default of payment
- Default judgment
- Enforce judgment
SMALL CLAIMS COURT STEPS (where claim is undefended)
1. Plaintiff’s Claim
2. Affidavit of Service
3. Request to Note In Default
- Default Judgment
- Assessment for Damages
4. Motion to Set Aside Judgment
5. Enforce Judgment
WHAT YOU NEED TO CONSIDER BEFORE GOING TO SMALL CLAIMS COURT
Before starting a lawsuit, you should ask yourself if it will be worth it. There are a number of factors you have to consider before making a claim in Small Claims Court and a number of pieces of information you will need to collect.
Information you need to have about a person or business you want to sue in Small Claims Court:
1) You will need the correct legal name of the person or business and a current residential or business address. Before going to Small Claims Court, you must have the exact name of the person, or of the corporation, or the Ontario corporation number, or the exact name of the registered business. For information on how to search a corporation or registered business name, you may contact the Companies Helpline, Ministry of Government Services. Please note that there is a fee for the search and the search will not be conducted over the phone.
2) If you obtain a judgment in your favour, you may have to enforce (attempt to collect) the judgment. In order for you to collect, the person/business must have one of the following:
- assets that can be sold, or
- debts (e.g. bank account, employment income) that can be garnished.
3) Does the person/business owe others money? You may be able to find out by contacting your local credit bureau, enforcement office, land registry office, and/or Small Claims Court (a fee may be payable). You may find that there are other creditors who are already waiting in line to collect their judgments. Even if the person/business does not have money now, you may be able to collect your judgment in future.
4) Information you need to have to support your Small Claims Court case
You will have to prove your case. Consider what witnesses and/or documents you have to support you. If it is just your word against the other person’s, it may be difficult to prove your case. Consider if you have the following:
- Any written evidence or documentation: copies of documents (for example, contracts, N.S.F. cheques, record of payments), photographs and other that you intend to use to support your claim must be attached to the claim form if you decide to go ahead.
- A record of any payments, returned cheques, etc. and/or a clear recollection of what happened and when: you will be required to write in the plaintiff’s claim form a short, clear summary of the events that took place and the reasons you think you are entitled to judgment against the defendant.
- Witnesses that can support you
5) Time you have to spend
There may be a time limit on how long you can wait before making a claim in Small Claims Court, which is set out in the Limitations Act. Under the law, the time you have to sue may run out. Check the time limits for your type of case.
Consider other options to resolve the issue
To keep your costs low, you might want to try to reach an agreement out of court. This is called settlement. You may consider mediation, which is a less formal method of resolving a dispute through a neutral third party. Mediation can be less time-consuming, more flexible, and less expensive than proceeding in court. It can also help you find your own solution to the dispute and preserve your relationship with the person/business.
DL Legal Services is always ready to provide you with mediation services.
PREPARING FOR SMALL CLAIMS COURT
You should prepare your case as thoroughly as you can. Think of what the defendant will say and what evidence they could bring to Small Claims Court. It is also a good idea to go to the court where your claim will be heard and watch a couple of small claims court cases so you will know what will be required of you.
Be neat while filling in forms in small claims court. These are court documents. All court forms must be typed, handwritten or printed legibly. It may cause delays if your forms cannot be read. Forms are available at court offices and at the following website: www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca
Count days for timelines according to the Rules of the Small Claims Court: When calculating timelines, count the days by excluding the first day and including the last day of the period; if the last day of the period of time falls on a holiday, the period ends on the next day that is not a holiday. If New Year’s Day, Canada Day or Remembrance Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is a holiday. If Christmas Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday the following Monday and Tuesday are holidays, and if Christmas Day falls on a Friday, the following Monday is a holiday.
Sign an affidavit. The affidavit must be signed in the presence of the person before whom it is sworn:
- a Small Claims Court staff member who has been appointed a commissioner for taking affidavits (there is no fee for this service);
- a lawyer who is entitled to practice law in Ontario;
- a notary public; or
- any other person who has been appointed a commissioner for taking affidavits in connection with court documents
If your address for service changes, you must serve written notice of the change on the court and all other parties within 7 days after the change takes place.