Small Claims Court
Resolving Simple Disputes
The Small Claims Court is meant to provide a more accessible and less formal way of litigating disputes. A proceeding in the Small Claims Court is heard and determined by one judge of the Superior Court of Justice. In general, the Small Claims Court provides a way for a person to resolve simple disputes concerning money or property with a neighbour, a merchant, or even a customer, for amounts up to $25,000.
Before you make a claim in Small Claims Court, you should ensure a few things. For instance, you need to ask yourself, if you do win, if you will be able to collect from the person or the business and if the business or person owes other people money as well. This would make it unlikely that you would be able to enforce a judgment against them. You also need to ensure that you have enough evidence to support your claim, such as a contract or any record of payments, etc. There are also time limits to take into account from when the dispute took place. When you go for a consultation with a lawyer, you should be able to provide these documents and any information about the person or business that you are suing or being sued by in order for things to proceed in as timely and cost effective manner as possible.
If a claim has been made against you, you need to immediately prepare your pleadings and respond. Otherwise, you may be found responsible for the total amount being claimed. Any delays will be very difficult to correct, and will be expensive if they can be corrected. If you have been served with a claim, you should file documents immediately. Our firm is prepared to assist you in the preparation of documents. We may also represent you at the hearing if that is what you decide. However, what is essential in all Small Claims Court proceedings is that the claims be issued properly, and defended properly in terms of the paperwork.
In terms of the proceeding, there are meetings with judges and attempts to resolve cases by agreement. You should be putting forward an Offer to Settle. Our firm can assist in this or attend with you at these court appearances. It is unlikely that your case will ever proceed to trial, because most cases are resolved by some form of agreement.
Our firm has a variety of staff and lawyers who can assist you in looking after Small Claims Court matters.