Small Claims Court

People go to small claims court for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are: claims for money owed under an agreement (i.e.: unpaid rent or loans) and claims for property damage (i.e.: clothing damaged by a dry cleaner, personal injuries, breach of contract).

What You Will Need: accurate information about the individual or business you would like to sue, including their legal name and current address.

  • Consider whether you will be able to collect from the individual or business you intend to sue; they must have money, assets that can be sold or a debt that can be garnished.
  • Ask yourself whether this is the right place to bring your claim. Small claims court allows you to sue for a maximum value of $10,000, including interest and all relevant costs.
  • There is often a limitation on how long you can wait to sue, depending on the nature of the issue. Be sure to consult a lawyer if you are unsure as to which limitation period applies to your case.
  • Keep in mind that there are a variety of fees involved in taking a matter to small claims court. Filing the claim, issuing a summons to witness and hiring interpreters (required for non English or French speakers), are costs to be considered.
  • By law, you must file your claim in the office in the area where one of the following three conditions applies:
  • Where the issue occurred (the location of the cause of action);
  • Where the defendant lives or carries on business;
  • The courtroom nearest to where the defendant lives or carries on business.
  • You will need to compile the evidence (ie. documents, witnesses) you have to support your claim. Ensure that you have a clear recollection of what happened, as you are required to provide a summary of the events as they occurred, as well as your reasoning as to why your complaint is justified.
  • Any written documentation you may have (i.e. contract, record of payments, returned cheques) must be submitted with your plaintiff form.