From beginning to end, a Small Claims Court action can be a lengthy and difficult process. Resolving a case quickly and effectively is more likely with a legal representative.
The ABC’s of Toronto’s Small-Claims Court are as follows:
Assistance – Our team has in-depth knowledge of the legal process and can easily guide you through it.
Battles- Every stage of a dispute has its uphill battles; however, we at George Brown Professional Corporation are committed to preventing unnecessary stress and worry.
Credited – With over 20 years of combined expertise our paralegals are licensed through the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Know the stakes
Setting realistic expectations is key. Before you begin the process, seriously consider what you hope to gain.
Ontario’s Small Claims Courts addresses disputes with alleged damages totaling $25,000 or less before considering interest and costs. If you receive a Judgment, enforcing the Court’s order will be your responsibility. It can be tedious to navigate through the court system without a knowledgeable representative. You may enforce your order through the opposing party’s sellable assets, cash reserves or through garnishment of bank accounts or employment income.
Two more points to consider: the Court will only enforce rulings up to the $25,000, the jurisdictional limit. If a dispute for damages over $25,000 is brought to Small Claims Court, you’ll ultimately lose the right to recover the remainder in the future. If you attempt to do so through another court it is frowned upon and considered “venue shopping” or “splitting eh claim”. There are restrictions against re-litigating matters once a decision has already been made.
In addition, damages related to the same case cannot be divided into two or more separate cases in order to fall within the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court in Ontario. In other words, a $40,000 claim cannot become one $25,000 claim and three $5,000 claims.
Small Claims Court fees can add up quickly. In addition to filing fees (making a claim, filing a motion, setting the matter down for trial, etc.) and fees for “proper” service of those documents, there are also allowances that must be paid to witnesses for their time and travel in order to be present to testify at your trial.
While a judgment in your favor may very well include some of these fees, there are also incidental fees which you may incur while attempting to enforcing the Court’s judgment, such as private investigation searches, PPSA searches and title searches (just to name a few).
At George Brown Professional Corporation, our paralegals can advise you of the possible fees involved in your matter so that you can make an informed decision.
Do you have a valid claim?
Any written evidence, documentation or contracts validating your claim must be submitted and attached to your claim form when filing. That form will also require a clear and concise summary of events that you believe entitle you to a successful judgment.