- 1. Can I sue?
- Yes. Our society holds that anyone may plead a complaint in court. The overall merit and outcome of that complaint of course, may not always be what a plaintiff considers to be true or just. The process involved ultimately is a decision made by a court for a judgement between a plaintiff and a defendant.
- 2. I think I’ve got a slam-dunk of a case, what’s wrong?
- Many plaintiffs who contact our firm consider their circumstances to either be air-tight or fool-proof. When considered by a third party, a number of cases either are lacking in important information, are contentious about events or interpretation, or fail to substantiate proper damages.
- 3. How can someone sue me since they have no case?
- It’s not the role of a defendant to enforce that a plaintiff does not have a valid claim; it is the role of the court. Should you have been sued? That too it is up to a judge to decide.
- 4. What’s the process of going through small claims court?
- The first stage of the process is where a plaintiff makes a statement of claim against a defendant and files this with a small claims court. The plaintiff then would need to serve the defendant(s) with the claim. Upon receiving the claim, the defendant(s) may settle, ignore the claim, or file a defence. If the defendant files a defence, it is filed at court with a copy sent back to the plaintiff. Then the court will issue a date for a settlement conference to be held at court. If the matter does not settle through a settlement conference, it goes to trial for a judgement.
- 5. How long does it take to get something resolved in court?
- Small claims courts in Brampton, Toronto, and Ottawa have a higher case volume than the rest of the courts in Ontario. Generally, it takes a couple of weeks to draft and file a Plaintiff’s claim, and a defendant will have 20 days to file a defence from the date of service of the Plaintiff’s claim. The matter will then go to a settlement conference within 90 days. Should there be no settlement at a settlement conference, filing for a trial date generally takes between 4 to 6 months (although may be quicker in smaller jurisdictions). At any time, both parties may agree to settle. A trial usually is not a long process in itself, and a number of small claims court trials resolve within a day.
- 6. People say that getting judgements in court are worthless?
- Not true. While there are obvious difficulties in suing a bankrupt individual or business, once a judgement is obtained in your favour you may then proceed to a garnishment hearing or to obtain a writ of seizure and sale. Both processes when executed properly are viable in collecting on a judgement as long as the other party is employed or has assets.
- 7. I saw something on TV why doesn’t that work in real life?
- Some individuals who contact our firm cite information from television court room dramas in relation to their cases. Unless you are watching a television show that specifically deals with small claims courts in Ontario, the jurisdiction and process is very different. In many US states, the maximum claim is much less than it is in Ontario, and the fee and filing structure is quite different as well.
- 8. What is a paralegal?
- Until recently in Ontario, paralegals were unlicensed and unregulated so that almost anyone could say they were a paralegal. Currently, paralegals as a profession are regulated and licensed by the Law Society of Upper Canada, and have minimum requirements for education, professional experience, requirements to carry a license and proper insurance, and are bound by a code of professional conduct. Additionally, complaints may be heard against paralegals by making a submission to the Law Society of Upper Canada.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that the following does not constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client relationship with our firm.
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