Here are answers to frequently asked questions. If you have any questions that aren’t answered here do not hesitate to contact SFC Paralegal Services.
What types of cases are heard in small claims court?
In small claims court, you can sue for money or the return of personal property valued at $25,000 or less. To sue a person or business in small claims court, your lawsuit, called a claim, must fall into one of the two following categories:
Claims for money owed under an agreement, such as, unpaid accounts for goods or services, unpaid loans, unpaid rent, NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques,
Claims for damages, such as, property damage, personal injuries, breach of contract.
What will I need to start a claim in small claims court?
Make sure to have copies of all the important documents that are part of your case. These documents can include copies of contracts, records of payments made or returned cheques, as well as any photographs that support your claim. Prepare a summary of all the events that took place in order to prove your claim.
Can I still take someone to Small Claims Court if they owe MORE than $25,000?
The maximum amount you can be awarded in small claims court is $25,000. If you are willing to forego the amount over $25,000 you can proceed with your case in small claims court. If you want the full amount over $25,000 you are required instead to bring your case to the Superior Court.
Can I take someone to Small Claims Court for LESS than $2,500?
Yes, even claims as low as $2,500 can be heard in Small Claims Court, but you cannot appeal the final decision/judgment on a claim for less than $2,500.
Can I represent myself in Small Claims Court?
Yes individuals are allowed to represent themselves, however there are some risks in doing so. Not knowing the rules or applicable legislation can put you at a significant disadvantage and could be detrimental to your case. It is recommended to have professional representation. Paralegals are less expensive than a lawyer while still providing professional and exceptional representation in Small Claims Court.
Can I sue someone for failing to follow a verbal agreement?
A verbal agreement is just as legally binding as a written agreement. However, it may be difficult to prove the terms and details of a verbal agreement. Make sure to provide as much supporting evidence to back up your claim.
Can I sue the owner of a company that breached a contract?
In most circumstances the owner cannot be personally sued. However, there are some situations where the Corporate Veil can be pierced and the owner can become liable.
Is there a time limit on how long I can wait to sue someone in Small Claims Court?
Usually there is a limit of 2 years. In some cases there are shorter limits. This is why it is important to get legal advice on how to proceed with your claim.
I just received a Plaintiff’s Claim. Do I have to respond?
Yes. You must file a Defence within 20 days. Failing to respond could mean the Plaintiff will win a Default Judgment against you for the total amount of the claim.
Can I get my legal fees back if I win my claim?
Yes you may request that your legal fees be paid by the unsuccessful party. In most cases, costs are awarded to the successful party based on 15% of the amount claimed. There are special circumstances that permit a Deputy Judge to order costs above 15%.
How do I get my money after winning my claim in Small Claims Court?
Once you receive a judgement against an individual or a company there are a few ways you can enforce payment:
- Writ of Seizure and Sale of Property
- Wage Garnishment
- Bank Garnishment