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    What are the typical steps of a lawsuit in Small Claims Court?
    Posted: 2010-07-12 14:27:25

    If youÂ’re considering going to Small Claims Court, you may be wondering what you will have to do. Below we outline the typical steps in an Ontario Small Claims Court lawsuit. Note that this can vary from case to case.

    Steps in Ontario Small Claims Court process

    A typical lawsuit will begin with a PlaintiffÂ’s Claim or Statement of Claim filed at court. The defendant will be served a claim, and then has 20 days to respond. After that, you and the defendant will attend a settlement conference. If you fail to reach a settlement, there will be a trial.

    • Statement of Claim or Plaintiff Claim - To sue in Small Claims Court, you must give the court a legal document called a Statement of Claim, which lists the facts of the case and how much money youÂ’re trying to recover. This is where My Legal Briefcase comes in. We can help you create the claim document that you will use in court. We also provide you with tips, information, and email reminders that will help you organize for court.

    • Serving your claim or Affidavit of Service - After you file your small claims form with the court, you must present a copy of that filing to all defendants in the case. This gives them official notice that they are being sued. The term for this is “service.”

    • DefendantÂ’s Response or Statement of Defense – 20 days after you serve the defendant, you should expect a response. If the defendant has not responded to your Notice of Claim within 20 days, you can ask the court clerk to enter a judgment in your favor by default.

    • Settlement Conference – Before the trial, you and the defendant attend a settlement conference. You will receive a notice of the settlement conference in the mail from the courtÂ’s clerk. The purpose of a settlement conference is to:

    1. make sure both sides know all the facts and evidence

    2. encourage both sides to come to an agreement – to settle without going to trial

    3. discuss the issues and determine the issues for trial

    4. help both sides get ready for trial. The judge may make recommendations about your case

    • Trial – On your trial date, go to the hearing room listed in your notice, and check in with the court clerk. Both sides get to make a brief opening statement. Then you present your evidence and call your witnesses. The defendant or judge will ask you and your witnesses questions. The defendant will then be able to call witnesses and introduce evidence. Finally, both sides make closing statements. The judge may issue a decision on the spot, or a written decision which the clerk's office will mail to you.

    • After judgment – For some people, succeeding at trial may just be the beginning of another lengthy process. Now comes another process to collect the money owed to you on judgment which may involve the seizure of property or garnishment of salary.

    Visit our websiteÂ’s Frequently Asked Questions for more information and helpful hints on the Small Claims Court process, such as filing a statement of claim, serving the defendant, and the trial process.

    Photo by cambiodefractal/Flickr.

    Although My Legal Briefcase takes every reasonable effort to ensure that the information on our website and documents are up-to-date and legally sufficient, My Legal Briefcase is not a law firm, and the employees of My Legal Briefcase are not acting as your attorney.

    Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.