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    The Small Claims Court Primer, Part 2: The $25,000 Limit
    Posted: 2010-09-29 07:59:09

    This series on Small Claims Court highlights areas about which most people who file Small Claims may have little knowledge. The information found in this series will help you understand how the services offered by My Legal Briefcase fit into the larger Small Claims Court process.

    In Part 1, we talked about the Limitation Period: the two-year period after an incident, or knowledge of the incident, in which a Small Claims action must be started. In Part 2, deciding whether to pursue a Small Claims action, money, or how much you can sue for, is another major consideration.

    Officially, Small Claims Court deals with civil disputes up to value of $25,000 (CAD) excluding interest and costs such as court fees.

    This limit can make your decision more complicated. If the extent of the injury or damages is greater than $25,000, you need to then determine whether Small Claims Court is the right avenue to pursue your claim.

    There are a few questions that we commonly receive regarding the $25,000 limit:

    Can I still sue in Small Claims Court if I have a dispute valued more than $25,000?

    Yes, you certainly can pursue a Small Claims action, but in doing so you must limit your claim to $25,000. Under no circumstances can a judge award you more than $25,000.

    In order to ensure there are no mistakes, your Statement of Claim must clearly state that you are waiving your right to any amount over $25,000.

    Can I divide up the claim into two amounts?

    The answer is no. You cannot sue twice for the same issue.

    Why would I still sue in Small Claims Court if I want more than $25,000?

    Let’s assume you are suing for $35,000. You could take your case to the next level in Superior Court.  In this case, you should consider hiring a lawyer. Superior Court has more rules and is a more complicated forum than Small Claims Court and a lawyer would be able to guide you through it more smoothly.

    When trying to decide whether to take a claim larger than $25,000 to Small Claims Court, conduct a Cost-Benefit Analysis of your situation.

    For example: If suing for $27,000, what is the probability of success, what would be your legal costs, and your costs in the Superior Court?

    If, based on this analysis, you decide that the cost is greater than the difference in the injury over $25,000, then Small Claims Court is the way to go.  Even if you have to reduce the amount of your claim to $25,000, you may decide to do so, because of the extra expense or effort to take the case to the Superior Court.

    If Small Claims Court is where you decide to pursue your case, then please consider a documentation service like My Legal Briefcase. Please note, however that My Legal Briefcase does not support claims over $25,000, and we do not have special wording to support situations where the claim amount is limited.

    In Part 3, we will talk about how the age of the of plaintiff or defendant can impact a potential Samll Claims action.

    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.