Small Claims Courts

Small Claims courts are a crucial aspect of the Canadian Legal system that could even be relevant to you one day. Small Claims courts are were created to try and give the average Joe a cheap, simple way to settle any type of arguments involving property or finances, without necessarily having to know a whole lot about law. You do not need to know many legal terms and the case usually consists of you telling your story for the judge to make a decision. It is a court that was not designed for lawyers and matters are handled more independently, although it isn’t against the rules to obtain help from lawyers inside or outside of court.

Initially made in order to settle disputes using as little money as possible, there are certain limits to how much a person can claim for regarding compensation or damages. Although the limit may change from place to place the standard maximum you can sue for in small claims court is $10,000. 00. Firstly, In order to go to small claims court and sue someone you must first file a claim. To do this you must first make a claim explaining what has happened and second let the person being sued know about it and the claim is used to do both.

The notice of claim document was made simple for people who are not lawyers and is the key to the entire case. You can get a notice of claim form at any small claims courts registry and the information required includes things like your name, the name of the person being sued, what has happened and what you are asking for. There are a few main different types of claims which include, a claim for money owed to the plaintiff, a loan that has not been repaid, failure to pay rent or failure to pay for services or work done.

When filing a claim it is important to remember that you must file the claim either at the place where it occurred or nearest to where the defendant lives or works. To ensure the person being sued receives the document you must serve it to them either by personal service or service by registered mail. If you have a claim filed against you the worst thing you can do is ignore it. If you do ignore it you will lose the case just as if you were there. What you must do is decide to either an agreeable payment schedule or to oppose the claim.

If you oppose then you must reply clarifying what you do or do not agree with and can even file a counter claim if you please. When you are finished you must mail your reply to the small claims court registry. The next aspect of Small Claims court you need to know about is what to actually do during court. When you arrive at the small claims court you must check the list and wait until your case is called before a judge. Since English and French are the official languages in Canada the Courts, a plaintiff or a defendant can file documents in either French or English.

When filing a claim, written or oral request any of these two languages can be used and translations or bilingual translators are provided in all Small Claims Courts in Ontario. When your name is finally called you approach, state your name and have a seat at the bench. Then when the trial begins the prosecutor must prove his case to the judge but neither the judge nor the staff can help or provide you with any legal advice. The judge will then listen to the disputes, arguments, and evidence of both the plaintiff and the defendant and concludes with a decision on the claim of the cases.

If the judge rules that you are the winner of the case, most people believe that they will get their money or that the courts will collect the money and that will be the end of it however that is not the case and it can sometimes be just as hard to collect money as it was to win the case. If you lose a Small Claims Court Case and after a hearing and are unable to pay the required amount directly, the judge will schedule some periodic payments; because the ability for you to pay right away is difficult.

If you cannot comply with the requirements of the periodic payments, or can not pay on time, you will become fully responsible for payments in full and the winner, is then entitled to filing complaints, and going through procedures to recover the full amount owed. In conclusion Small Claims Court is a cheap efficient way to resolve disputes and make settlements regarding issues that are less than $10,000. 00. However aside from actually entering the Court there are alternatives that can be done that may even be simpler.

For example in order to avoid the stress and expense of a court case in a Small Claims Court, a claim can be easily settled before the trial in order to save both parties money. The settlement can be done either orally or through a written agreement. If an offer is accepted than the matter or dispute is over but if it is not accepted then the case will proceed to trial. Also there is something called a mediation which gives people an opportunity to resolve their disputes with the help of a mediator. A mediator is like a judge because mediators are neutral and unbiased but unlike judges, mediators do not decide cases or give opinions about the problem.

They simply try to find solutions that meet the needs of people involved and not determine a winner or loser. The mediator’s job is to help people with disagreement and to develop a solution that they can both agree on. Mediation can help resolve problems that have been brought to Small Claims Court and the best resolution to any problem is usually worked out by the people themselves or through mediation because the people usually arrive at a final resolution quickly and conveniently as against going to a trial.

Works Cited Text – Grade 11 Law text Book Websites http://www. attorneygeneral. jus. gov. on. ca/english/courts/scc/ http://www. ag. gov. bc. ca/courts/civil/smallclaims/ http://www. ag. gov. bc. ca/courts/civil/smallclaims/guides/what_is_small_claims/ http://www. courts. ns. ca/SmallClaims/cl_info. htm http://www. sasklawcourts. ca/default. asp? pg=pc_div_small_claims.