Small Claims courts exist to help people settle minor disputes concerning money or property with a neighbour, a merchant and even a customer for amounts up to $25,000, (varies by province) without having to hire a lawyer.
Yes. you can represent yourself in Small Claims courts, but that may not be the wisest course of action. An experienced Paralegal is a wise option.
Know that it will take you the better part of a year to go through the entire Small Claims Court process and have your trial and get judgment. You may lose.
YOU MAY WIN, BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU WILL GET YOUR MONEY.
Courts do not collect for you. You still must collect
Small Claims Courts are informal, quicker and cheaper than regular courts. We do recommend consulting a paralegal for any small claims matter.
STUDY JUDGE JUDY
Watch several of her shows. Watch how the witnesses present their evidence and what happens to those who are not prepared or talk over the other party.
The litigants on Judge Judy provide a good example of how not to behave and what to expect in any Small Claims Court.
HOW MUCH CAN I SUE FOR?
The ParaLegal Advice Small Claims Court Chart lists the amounts you can sue for in your province. These are set by the province in which you are suing. The highest amount you can sue for in Small Claims Court is currently $25,000.00
WHO CAN I SUE?
You can sue anybody (adults) and any business in Small Claims Court.
Any individual, business or corporation may sue in Small Claims Court for the recovery of money only.
WILL THE COURTS HELP ME?
The clerks in the Small Claims Courts offices will not tell you HOW to prepare your case or provide legal help. If they are not too busy, they may assist you in correctly filling out the forms, but don't count on it. You will have to get their information booklets and forms and actually read them and follow the instructions to the letter or your case may be tossed out.
This is another reason why retaining a paralegal is wise.
SHOULD I SUE?
Only you can decide. Before you do, read up on what you are getting into. You may be mad about that deadbeat now, but is it worth a few hundred dollars and a year or so of aggravation to sue her?
In the end, most cases settle on the court room steps because both parties just want the matter over and done with.
Ask a paralegal to assess your case before you decide.
WHERE DO I SUE?
You must sue in the court in the jurisdiction of the person being sued. If the party you are suing is located in Kingston and you are in Montreal, you must sue in Kingston
WHAT CAN I SUE FOR?
Usually you can sue for damages in auto accidents, property damage, some landlord tenant disputes,broken verbal or written contracts, bad cheques, unpaid wages, or the collection of personal debts. This is a partial list and rules vary by province.
CAN YOU PROVE YOUR CLAIM?
The result of a lawsuit is not necessarily determined by what is right, but rather by what can be proven.
If your case is not strong enough to support the burden of proof, then you might as well just chalk it up to a learning experience.
WHAT WILL IT COST TO MAKE MY CLAIM?
It will cost you about $300.00 and 3 or 4 full days of your time to file, serve, attend the settlement conference and the trial regardless if you win or lose your case. If you lose you may have to pay costs to the other side.
IF YOU WIN you still have to collect. Is it worth it? Think twice before you answer.