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Small Claim Court

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Small Claim Court

Small Claims Court matters account for the vast majority of legal disputes in Ontario. Arash Boorboor has worked as a Small Claims Paralegal consultant and legal representative on a variety of matters.

Ontario Small Claims Court Limits

As of January 1, 2020, the small claims court has jurisdiction over claims totaling up to $35,000.00. This limit does not include costs, disbursements, and interest. Furthermore, the limit remains at $35,000 regardless of the number of people being sued. You can’t sue Defendant A for $35,000.00, Defendant B for $35,000.00, and Defendant C for $35,000.00 each. However, you can sue multiple parties for the same $35,000.00.

You cannot bypass the Small Claims Court’s monetary jurisdiction by dividing your claim into multiple cases.

It is not unusual for people with claims that are slightly higher than the Ontario small claims court limits to file a claim for $35,000.00 and have the small claims court handle the case to avoid unnecessary costs.

The small claims court process is much simpler than the higher courts. However, it remains extremely complex and difficult for self-represented litigants to understand. Hiring a small claims court legal professional lawyer or paralegal will save you a significant amount of time and money.

An Example

For example, Alex owns a landscaping business. Alex has a $50,000.00 contract with Sam and Ryan to provide landscaping services for their front garden. After completing the required work, neither Sam nor Ryan paid Paul the $50,000.00 owed.

Paul can’t sue Sam and Ryan for $25,000.00 each in the same Small Claims case. He also cannot sue Sam and Ryan for $25,000 each in separate Small Claims Court cases.

Alex has the following two choices:

  • Sue Sam and Ryan in the Superior Court proceeding for the entire $50,000.
  • Sue Sam and Ryan in the Small Claim Court proceeding for cap of $35,000 

If Alex decides to file the lawsuit in small claims court, he will only be eligible for a maximum recovery of $35,000 plus interest, costs, and disbursements. Interest, costs, and disbursements are limited based on a variety of factors, including the presence of ;egal Representation such as lawyer or paralegl.

Advantages of Small Claims Court

  • Time

    Many Small Claims Court cases take less than a year to complete from the start date to the trial date. In ordinary courts, it is not uncommon for cases to take several years to reach trial.

  • Cost

    Small claims court is a less costly and expensive way to seek justice. Expensive processes, such as discovery, which can take days or even weeks of preparation and a comparable amount of time to attend, are not included in the small claims court process.

  • Risk

    If you sue for an amount outside the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court and are successful but only recover an amount within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court, you could face significant costs. According to Rule 57.05(1) of the Rules of Civil Procedure, “If a plaintiff recovers an amount within the monetary jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court, the court may order that the plaintiff shall not recover any costs.”

  • Court Costs Award

    Small Claims Court Costs Award: Per Section 29 of the Courts of Justice Act, “An award of costs in the Small Claims Court, other than disbursements, shall not exceed 15 per cent of the amount claimed or the value of the property sought to be recovered unless the court considers it necessary in the interests of justice to penalize a party or a party’s representative for unreasonable behaviour in the proceeding.” This cost provision applies to parties who have retained a lawyer or paralegal. There is significantly less risk of cost than bringing a proceeding in a higher court, where costs are frequently awarded in the five or six figure range.

  • Simplicity

    A small claims court case typically goes through four or fewer phases. (Pleading, Settlement Conference, Trial, and Collection)

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Small Claims Legal Fees

Many self-represented individuals in small claims court cases spend an enormous amount of time attempting to figure out the process. If you are successful in your claim or defense after hiring counsel, some of the money spent might end up recoverable through costs. Here are some of the relevant cost provisions.

  • Section 29 of the Courts of Justice Act reads ” An award of costs in the Small Claims Court, other than disbursements, shall not exceed 15 per cent of the amount claimed or the value of the property sought to be recovered unless the court considers it necessary in the interests of justice to penalize a party or a party’s representative for unreasonable behaviour in the proceeding.”
  • Section 19.05 of O. Reg. 258/98 reads “The court may order an unsuccessful party to pay to a successful party who is self-represented an amount not exceeding $500 as compensation for inconvenience and expense.”

In a successful claim or defense for $35,000.00, a lawyer or paralegal could argue for $5,250.00 in costs if they did that much or more work. This is not to imply that a self-represented party has never received more than $500 in total, including costs and disbursements. A lawyer, on the other hand, can usually claim much higher costs.

The cost of each matter varies greatly. A simple collection case will require far less work than a complex claim involving multiple parties.

Small Claims Court Procedure

  • Part 1: Pleading Stage

Step 1: Determine whether you are going to hire a Small Claims Court Lawyer. If the Claim is large, then it will likely be in your best interests.

Step 2: Draft a Plaintiff’s Claim.

Step 3: File the Plaintiff’s Claim. This is done at the Courthouse or online.

Step 4: Serve the Plaintiff’s Claim.

Step 5: Defendant has 20 days to defend. They may defend, add additional parties or counterclaim.

  • Part 2: Settlement Conference

Step 1: The Courts will mail you a settlement conference date shortly after the Defendant defends. If you or your Small Claims Court Lawyer do not receive a Settlement Conference date you should contact the Court.

Step 2: Serve a Proposed Witness List on all parties and a Document Book at least 14 days prior to settlement conference.

Step 3: Attend court on the date of settlement conference. Even if you have a lawyer you will need to attend settlement conferences in most cases. Exceptions may apply.

Step 4: All parties to the action will attend and be before a Deputy Judge or other qualified party. Each side is typically given a few minutes to describe the nature of their issue. The Deputy Judge will then give comments and determine if he sees any possibility of settlement. If the matter is not going to be settled the Deputy Judge may allow you to set the matter for Trial. It should be noted that the location of settlement conferences is not always a Court room. It is not uncommon to be in a board room within the courthouse.

  • Part 3: Trial

This is where evidence will be presented before a Deputy Judge. Witnesses may be involved and experts in some circumstances. Opening Submissions will start the proceeding. The plaintiff will then present their case first. The defendant(s) will present their case subsequently. Both parties will then be entitled to make submissions. After that the Deputy Judge may render a decision the same day or reserve to make a decision on a subsequent date.

  • Part 4: Collection

Collection: Once a Trial is completed the final step of small claims court proceedings is the collection phase. Often after judgment a form and timeline of payment will be agreed too. However, it is not uncommon for payment not to made.

Where payment is not made there are several options available including but not limited to the following:

  • Setting an Examination Hearing: This will allow the Creditor to obtain information about the debtor’s finances.
  • Filing a Notice of Garnishment
  • Filing a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Personal Property
  • A lawyer can file a Writ of Seizure and Sale of Land. This should not be done without a lawyer.
  • Filing a Writ of Delivery
  • Filing a Consolidation Order
What Happens When
You Lose in Small Claims Court?

Anyone who claims to be the best small claims lawyer is simply misleading. Lawyers frequently defend cases where they know their client is liable. The trial then becomes about trying to limit the amount of their focuses on limiting their liability. The idea is that maybe their client is being sued for $35,000.00. However, at trial, the Plaintiff was only awarded $15,000.00.

If you lose, you will most likely be responsible for your own legal counsel’s fees as well as some of the successful party’s expenses. This can vary depending on whether an offer to settle was made, how the case was handled in court, and other factors.

You will increase your chances of being successful by hiring a small claims lawyer or paralegal

Our Affordable Legal Services
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  • Riolaw Paralegal Services Team provides a discreet, competent, and experienced paralegal with excellent references. We’re here for fair, honest, and competent legal representation for clients. we tried to be affordable for any budget so can provide paralegal services to anyone who need us

Our team takes pride in being easily reachable by its clientele. The Richmond Hill, Ontario, office is ideally situated to guarantee public accessibility. In an effort to increase accessibility and safety, we also provide online meetings.

Most Small Claims Court cases necessitate only a few court appearances, allowing us to serve clients across a wide geographic area. We can handle the following Small Claims Court locations:

  • Barrie Small Claims Court
  • Belleville Small Claims Court 
  • Brighton Small Claims Court
  • Brampton Small Claims Court
  • Burlington Small Claims Court
  • Cobourg Small Claims Court
  • Collingwood Small Claims Court
  • Guelph Small Claims Court
  • Hamilton Small Claims Court
  • Kingston Small Claims Court
  • Kitchener Small Claims Court
  • Lindsay Small Claims Court
  • Markham Small Claims Court
  • Newmarket Small Claims Court
  • Orillia Small Claims Court
  • Oshawa Small Claims Court
  • Peterborough Small Claims Court
  • Richmond Hill Small Claims Court
  • Toronto Small Claims Court
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High Success rate; means that anyone, including you, could be our next satisfied client who relies on our good reputation to achieve the best possible result. We only accept legitimate cases because we do not want to waste time and damage our reputation. We know court procedures and enforcement, so why not use our knowledge and experience? work with professionals for a reasonable and affordable fee. to protect your rights.

Our Legal Talent has extensive litigation experience representing businesses of all sizes, including but not limited to leading insurance companies, financial institutions, franchises, dental and medical businesses, investment firms, human resource businesses, staffing and recruitment firms, and real estate companies.

Furthermore, we have a proven track record of successfully arguing in court and at various tribunals, as well as the ability to produce results for business owners, operators, and decision makers at mediation and on the verge of trial.

We take pride in our ability to deliver accurate assessments and impressive cycle times, and we have extensive experience providing early case assessments across large volumes of inbound files.

We are honored to have fulfilled top-notch legal services,  including but not limited to:

Our expert paralegal services are available throughout Ontario. No place is too far away. Toronto, Richmond Hill, Oshawa, Milton, Aurora, Stouffville, Thornhill, Vaughan, Brantford, London, Hamilton, Newmarket, Barrie, Mississauga, Brampton, and many other jurisdictions are among the Ontario jurisdictions in which the firm operates.

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