Small Claims Court allows individuals and corporations to initiate claims and law-suits against others up to a maximum of $35,000.00. Over the recent years the monetary limit of the court has been increased. Individuals can launch claims on their own and be self represented or be represented by a lawyer or paralegal. Types of claims that are commonly brought in the small claims court include the following: unpaid accounts for goods or services sold and delivered, unpaid loans, unpaid rent, NSF (non-sufficient funds) cheques, property damage, clothes damaged by a dry cleaner, personal injuries and breach of contract. The small claims court is not free and there are modest court fees that must be paid in order to start and continue a small claims case in Ontario.
A successful party to a claim is entitled to costs and disbursements incurred – however, in many cases, not all the costs will be awarded. A successful party is entitled to have the party’s reasonable disbursements, including any costs of effecting service or preparing a plaintiff’s or defendant’s claim or a defence and expenses for travel, accommodation, photocopying and experts’ reports, paid by the unsuccessful party, unless the court orders otherwise. If a successful party is represented by a lawyer, student-at-law or paralegal, the court may award the party a reasonable representation fee at trial or at an assessment hearing. Depending on how much you paid for representation, expect to not receive the full amount back if you are successful in your claim. An issue that arises sometimes in civil law suits is the credit worthiness of the defendant. Even if you obtain a favourable judgment, you have to be able to collect it. Collecting a judgment if the debtor is evading payment is an entirely different stage and proceeding. If you have suffered damages and wish to launch a small claims case or if you have been served with a claim as a defendant and want to talk to a lawyer, then call Avi Baratz for a free confidential consultation today.